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PrcsEttteh to 
of tl]e 

PiiiliBrgttg of Toronto 

Professor Frederick Tracy 














Professor of Christian Theology in the 

Neivton Theological Institution 

Neivton Centre, Mass. 

The University of Chicago Press 
chicago, illinois 

Copyright igii Bv 
The University of Chicago 

All Rights Reserved 

Published May ign 

Composed and Printed By 

The University of Chicago Press 

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. 






More than three-quarters of a century ago Fried- 
rich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher gave to the world his 
Christian Faith. This great theological treatise was 
the w£>rk of a man who, to the natural endowment of a 
rich emotional temperament and an intellect of unu- 
sual power, had added the culture that comes from a 
comprehensive acquaintance with the world's leading 
thinkers and a varied experience in literary, political, 
• and religious affairs. His Glaubenslehre, as the work 
is commonly called, represents his mature thought on 

• the most important of subjects. No modern treatment 
of the questions raised by the religious life has sur- 
passed it, or perhaps even equaled it, in respect to 
influence exercised on the course of religious thought. 

Schleiermacher was the first Protestant theologian 
to grasp clearly the significance of the new situation, 
created by the evangelical revival of the eighteenth 
century and the contemporary movement of thought 
that came to violent expression in the French Revolu- 

• tion. He represents a turning-point in the history 

• of Christendom. Modern theological reconstruction 
begins with him. 

Theology has usually been slow to acknowledge 
the impact of new forces in the spiritual life. This 
may partly account for the comparative neglect of 
Schleiermacher by English-speaking theologians. Ger- 
man theologians of all shades of opinion have long 
been quarrying materials for their own structures 



• from the bedrock of his thought. But his influence 
has been mainly mediated to other countries through 
the Ritschlian school. There is very little first-hand 
knowledge of him among us. Excepting Bishop 
Thirwall's translation of his Luke (now out of print, I 
think), Farrer's translation of his Outlines of the 
Study of Theology, Oman's translation of the Dis- 
courses (Reden), and W. Robertson Nicoll's Selected 
Sermons, all that we have about him for the English 
reader is a few cyclopaedia and magazine articles. 
Der christliche Glaube has never been translated, 
though a desire for a translation has often been ex- 

The present work is a modest attempt to remedy 
to some extent this want. It makes no claim to a 
mastery of the great thinker's whole system of thought, 
but represents the standpoint of an interested student 
and admirer. Its purpose is twofold : first, by indi- 
cating the historical setting of Schleiermacher's the- 
ology, to cast some light on the origin of certain 
urgent problems of the present day; in the next place, 
by exhibiting Schleiermacher's views of the traditional 
Christian doctrines and his constructive method, to 
suggest lines of reflection that may be of value to the 
rising generation of students of theology. 

The sketch of his life offered in the Introduction 
is drawn mainly from his published correspondence 
and directs attention to the experiential basis of his 
doctrine — indispensable to a clear grasp of it. The 
outline of the course of Protestant life and thought 
from the Reformation to the end of the eighteenth 


century sets forth the reHgioiis and intellectual condi- 
tions that constituted Schleiermacher's problem and 
summoned him to his task. 

The central portion of the book is a careful con- 
densation of the Christian Faith. I used the edition 
of 1889 (Gotha: Friedrich Andreas Perthes). Some 
of the difficulties attendant on an effort of this kind 
may be gathered from the fact that the original work 
in the German covers about 1,200 pages. The ramifi- 
cations of Schleiermacher's discussions are very ex- 
tended and apt to confuse the reader and the more so 
since many of his sentences are of inordinate length. I 
have tried to follow closely the main thread of his 
argument without, on the one hand, reducing it to 
the limits of a mere outline or, on the other hand, 
failing to exhibit the full sweep of his thought. I 
believe my statement is in accord with the spirit of 
Schleiermacher's work and will place the careful 
reader in possession of a clear understanding of its 

The brief estimate which closes this work is in- 
tended to suggest lines of criticism and to point out 
the direction which, in the writer's judgment, a con- 
structive theology must now take if it is to meet the 
needs of our times. 

I wish to express my sense of obligation to Rev. 
E. P. Tuller, Ph.D., for his kindness in reading the 
proof of this work and for many valuable suggestions. 

George Cross 

Newton Centre, Mass. 
March 15, 191 1 



I. Historical Introduction 3~ii3 

A. A Sketch of Schleiermacher's Life . . 3-66 

B. Schleiermacher's Relation to Earlier Prot- 
estantism 67-113 

II. Presentation OF "The Christian Faith" . 117-293 
Introduction (§§1-31) n? 

Chapter I: Explanation of Dogmatics (§§2- 

19) 118-143 

Chapter II: The Method of Dogmatics 

(§§20-31) 144-293 

I. Unfolding of the Religious Self-Consciousness 

(§§32-61) 153-174 

II. The Antithesis in the Religious Self-Conscious- 
ness (§§62-169) 174-293 

1. Unfolding of the Consciousness of Sin 

(§§65-84) 177-193 

2. Unfolding of the Consciousness of Grace 

(§§86-169) 194-293 

III. An Estimate 297-334 

Works of Reference 335-337 

Index 341-344 






Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher was born 
at Breslau, in Upper Lusatia, Prussia, on November 
21, 1763, and died in Berlin on February 12, 1834. 
His life coincides with a period that is the most event- 
ful in European history excepting, possibly, the age 
of the Protestant Reformation. It was a time of 
popular convulsions and general unrest. Revolution 
was in progress in economics, politics, society, and 
religion. The inevitable temporary and partial re- 
action followed. Next to France, of all the countries 
in Europe, Prussia was the most deeply affected by 
these movements. Allowing for brief intervals of 
absence, Schleiermacher's whole life was spent within 
the borders of his native country and the greater part 
of his public career was occupied in her service at the 
capital, Berlin, in connection with its new and now 
famous university. His sensitive temperament and 
his broad sympathy enabled him to feel every pulse- 
beat of the life around him. His wide knowledge and 
liberal education fitted him to become one of the best 
interpreters of the European world of that day. As 
a religious man and a thinker he becomes a sort of 
reflex of its most potent ideas. 




Schleiermacher belonged to a family of preachers 
on both sides of the house. His father was chaplain, 
of the Reformed church (the name given to the Cal- 
vinistic Protestants of the continent) to a Prussian 
regiment of soldiers. His mother was a daughter of 
Royal Chaplain Stubenrauch and sister to Professor 
Stubenrauch, of the University of Halle. The family 
were poor, but intelligent and pious. The father's 
early theological studies led him in his twenty- fourth 
year to inward renunciation of Calvinism, though, 
perhaps for prudential reasons, he made no outward 
sign of it. In a letter written to his son many years 
later he admits having preached orthodoxy without 
actually believing it. He was a Freemason and a 
keen student of philosophy in his young manhood, and 
in respect to religious opinions he was only one out 
of a multitude of preachers in Protestant Europe who 
at that time conformed in their public ministrations 
to established doctrine but in their hearts held a ration- 
alistic view that true religion and essential Christianity 
consisted in the belief in God, virtue, and immortality. 
Strangely enough his experience was partly duplicated 
for a time in his son. 

The mother was a noble-minded woman, of an ar- 
dent temperament, devoted to the care of her three chil- 
dren, strict and even severe in discipline, and prayer- 
ful. In the father's continual absence from home 
the burden of their training fell to her lot. She took 
a great interest in their studies, observed the develop- 


ment of their mental characteristics and their moral 
tendencies with much solicitude, and exercised a close 
supervision of their reading. So far as spiritual pref- 
erences are concerned she seemed to hold with her 
husband that a straight morality is the one important 

But in 1778 the father, being then fifty-one years 
of age, experienced an inward change. His regiment 
was quartered at that time at Gnadenfrei in Silesia. 
There he came into contact with the Moravian Breth- 
ren. This much-persecuted sect, whose origin dates 
back to the times of John Huss, had long maintained 
a precarious existence in Bohemia and Moravia, and 
at length a portion of them, under the leadership of 
Christian David, sought a refuge in Saxony. Count 
Zinzendorf gave them an asylum on his estate at 
Berthelsdorf and later became a prominent leader. 
This new home they named Herrnhut ("Watch of the 
Lord" ) .^ From this center they spread into other com- 
munities. At the time above referred to Gnadenfrei 
was one of their chief centers. Through one of the 
Brethren, named von Bruiningk, Chaplain Schleier- 
macher became a convert to their views and believed 
himself a subject of that supernatural grace on which 
they laid so much stress. Henceforth all was changed. 

' These people have accepted various designations: The Unitas Fratrum 
or Unity of the Brethren, the Unity, the Bohemian Brethren, the Brethren, 
the Brethren's church, Moravian Brethren, the Moravian church. Many 
German writers use the name Herrnhuters. For a comprehensive history of 
the body to the year 1722 see The History of the Church Known as the Unitas 
Fratrum, by Edmund de Schweinitz. 


He became anxious for the conversion of his wife and 
children. His efiforts were rewarded by the wife's 
finally hearty, though at first hesitating, response to 
her husband's new attitude of mind. Henceforward 
both endeavored to instil the same religious experience 
into the minds of their children, all three of whom 
ultimately entered the community of the Brethren. 
It is worth noting here that the father never became 
a member of the Brethren's church, and years later, 
when the elder son renounced his father's views, the 
latter himself gradually receded from the Herrnhuter- 
ite position, though he retained to the end of his life 
their faith in Christ and a deep regard for those who 
had mediated that faith to him. 


We now turn more particularly to the career of 
his more famous son. Friedrich, or Fritz as he was 
usually called at home, was the junior of his sister 
Lotte and the senior of his brother Carl. He was an 
unusually bright child, and in his early school days 
made such rapid progress in his studies and showed 
such a disposition to pry into difficult subjects that 
his mother became alarmed at what seemed his pride 
and conceit. When only ten years of age, according 
to his own testimony, his mind was greatly distressed 
with the thought of the eternal happiness and woe of 
men, and many sleepless nights were spent in seeking 
some solution of the relation of the sufferings of 
Christ to the punishment of human sin. The attempt 


to indoctrinate the boy in such matters evidently 
brought only confusion and pain to his sensitive na- 
ture. The mother's conversion to Moravianism in- 
troduced a. new and powerful religious influence into 
the home, but this only increased his unhappiness 
The attempt to reproduce in himself that sense of utter 
sinfulness and that experience of miraculous change 
which was demanded as the inward response to the 
orthodox teachings, was for a long time fruitless. 
The Moravian profession of a conscious soul-inter- 
course with Jesus prompted him to longings and striv- 
ings which for years remained unsatisfied. The 
mother saw in all this an answer to her prayers, but 
when he besought her for help she could only tell 
him to pray to Jesus for the gift he sought. It is 
evident that the boy's mind was overwrought and his 
spiritual development abnormal, but at the same time 
it is clear that he was possessed of a nature wonder- 
fully endowed and capable of high religious attain- 

The family moved to Pless in Upper Alsatia in the 
year 1778 and the year after to Anhalt, where they 
remained till the summer of 1780. That year Fritz 
attended a boarding-school at Pless. While there he 
came under the influence of Ernesti, the famous exe- 
gete and advocate of the grammatico-historical method 
of Scripture-interpretation, whose enthusiasm awak- 
ened in the boy the desire for a scholastic career and 
a love for the ancient classics. The rich fruit of this 
appeared in later years in Schleiermacher's splendid 


translation of Plato's Dialogues and his deep acquaint- 
ance with Greek philosophy. During those years 
there came over him "a strange skepticism," as he 
calls it. It consisted in a suspicion that the whole of 
what was contained in ancient history was unreal, be- 
cause he knew nothing of the proofs of the genuine- 
ness of the events mentioned in the literature of 
those far-off times and because the accounts them- 
selves seemed disjointed and fanciful. Though much 
troubled by these doubts he kept them to himself. The 
death of Ernesti in 1781 led to his return to his 
father's house. Here with no experienced teacher to 
direct his studies he developed that tendency, after- 
ward deplored by him, to follow his own choice of 
books and subjects rather than those more regular 
academic courses which are based on long scholastic 

At the same time these were days of spiritual 
profit. At Anhalt and at Gnadenfrei, whither the 
family soon removed, he saw a good deal of his father 
and they often talked together of religious matters. 
Long afterward, in 1802, when on a visit at Gnaden- 
frei, he wrote his friend Reimer of those happy days.^ 
He recalls a walk in company with his father when 
there came to him the feeling that he was a subject 
of divine grace and he began to entertain the hope 
that he had entered on a higher life: 

' See Meyer, Schleiermachers und C. S. von Brinkmanns Gang durch die 
Brtidergemeine, 6i; also Rowan, The Life and Lellers of Schleiermacher, I, 6. 


Here it was that there came to me for the first time the 

consciousness of man's relation to a higher world Here 

it was that mystical temperament was developed which has been 
of so much worth to me and which through all the storms of 
skepticism has supported and preserved me. Then it was only 
in germ, now it has attained to full development, and I can 
say that, after all that I have passed through, I have become a 
Herrnhuter again — only of a higher order [italics mine]. 

He is not unmindful of certain dangers attendant 
on such an experience: 

Here were laid the germs of an imaginativeness in matters 
of religion, which, had I been of a more ardent temperament, 
would probably have made me a visionary, but to which I am 
nevertheless indebted for many a precious experience, and which 
is the reason that, while in most people the disposition of the 
mind is formed unconsciously by theory and observation, in my 
case, it bears the impress, and is the conscious product, of my 
own mental history.^ 

In those days, however, he was still tossed about 
by the fear lest all these experiences might be only 
from himself, and his young soul was still harassed 
by the questionings which had troubled him before. 
He began to share his father's dread of the effect of a 
contact with the dangerous tendencies toward irre- 
ligion and immorality in the larger schools then open 
to him, and when the father proposed to seek admission 
for him to a school of the Brethren at Niesky, known 

' It will help us to understand Schleiermacher's theology if we remember 
that he believed he learned much of the nature of religion by observing atten- 
tively and calmly the process of his own inner life, and that he considered that 
from his earliest remembered religious experience to the end there was no 
internal revolution, but a development. 


as the Paedagogium, he eagerly assented; for by this 
time he had made up his mind to join the Moravian 
society, cost what it might. 

AppHcation was duly made in May, 1783. It was 
not easy to obtain admission, for first of all the casting 
of the lot, which the Brethren regarded as indicating 
immediately the Savior's will, must result favorably, 
and the directors at Barby, which was at that time 
their educational headquarters, must approve. After 
a few weeks of waiting his desire was granted and he 
entered the Paedagogium in June. With this step 
the home life was brought to an end. He never saw" 
his parents again, for his devoted mother died in the 
following December, and his father's path and his 
own began to run apart. 


The Paedagogium at Niesky was of the nature of 
a gymnasium or preparatory college for young men 
who wished to enter the Christian ministry, particu- 
larly the Moravian. At that time it enjoyed a wide 
reputation. Among the students were members of 
aristocratic German families, children of absent mis- 
sionaries, representatives of eastern German provinces, 
and youths from Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, and 
England. It was a student-cloister unlike any other, 
whether Protestant or Catholic. The entering stu- 
dents became members of a new family. The teachers 
held a sort of graded parental relation to them, and 
brotherly affection was the dominant feature of the 


mutual relations of all the inmates. The organization 
and administration of the institution were on the 
same lines as those of its prototype at Halle, where 
Zinzendorf was educated. Connection with the out- 
side world was severed. The refining and ennobling 
influences of female society were excluded. A strict 
supervision was exercised over correspondence with 
relatives or friends. Incoming and outgoing letters 
were subjected to censorship. This may partly ac- 
count for the fewness of Schleiermacher's letters 
which are preserved from this portion of his life. 

The instruction given to students was fairly broad. 
It aimed at breadth rather than learnedness in a single 
field, at a many-sided intellectual activity with some 
love for science, a keen appreciation of Latin and 
Greek literature, and some taste for the fine arts. 
Schleiermacher relates how he and his room-mate 
von Albertini — who held afterward for a long time 
a first place among the Brethren as scholar, preacher, 
and poet — ranged at will over the field of classic litera- 
ture, and even tried to work up a knowledge of Semit- 
ics. At the same time the aim of the institution was 
mainly heart-culture. Coldness, hard-heartedness. 
lack of feeling were regarded as the worst faults. 
There was an attempt to play on the heart strings in 
a thousand ways. A developed phantasy, a powerful 
soul-life was the presupposition of religiosity. The 
culmination of the education given was found in soul- 
intercourse with the Savior, and to that end it was 
supposed to be necessary to exercise one's self in 


world-denial, to avoid the society of women, and any- 
thing that might stimulate the lower affections. 

This meant, of course, that the works of many 
contemporary writers were sternly proscribed as being 
out of harmony with the views of the Brethren. More- 
over, the greatest care was taken to impress students 
with the unquestionableness of Protestant orthodoxy, 
especially the doctrines of Christ's deity and his sub- 
stitutionary sacrifice, of human depravity, miraculous 
grace, and future punishment. No effort was spared 
to give the students an inward attestation of the truth 
of these doctrines by the cultivation of a religious 
experience corresponding with the doctrinal teaching. 
This artificial devotion to mysticism stimulated doubts 
of the w^orth of this religious intercourse in the minds 
of some young men who hesitated to submit themselves 
to a compulsory divine service. 

At the same time the relations between teachers 
and students and of students with one another were 
characterized by a happy and wholesome intimacy. 
With hard study were combined the cultivation of an 
acquaintance with poetry and music and the enjoyment 
of birthday parties and other festivals. Religious 
meetings recurred with great frequency. The hymn- 
singing for which the Brethren were famous was a 
notable feature of these gatherings. In later years 
in connection with his own conduct of public worship 
Schleiermacher used to contrast the dull monotonous 
liturgy of the state church with the lively, inspiring 
worship in Moravian congregations, and to express 


his thankfulness for what he had learned on this sub- 
ject when he was among them. 

There can be no doubt as to the intentions of 
Schleiermacher's godly parents in sending him to this 
school. They admired the religious life of the Herrn- 
huters and they feared the rationalistic tendencies of 
the times. They were not unaware of the strength of 
the great movement of thought which was sweeping 
over Europe. European society was then stirred to 
its depths over many questions. Ideas and institutions 
hoary with age were subjected to the keenest and most 
unrelenting criticism, and particularly in the ecclesi- 
astical and religious realm. The skepticism of Boling- 
broke and Hume in England, of Voltaire and the 
Encyclopaedists in France, of Fredrick the Great and 
the 'Tlluminants" in Prussia, had delivered a fearful 
polemic against current orthodoxy and the church. 
Science and philosophy seemed to corroborate its argu- 
ments. Political institutions traditionally associated 
with established religion were threatened with a gen- 
eral overturn. The very codes of morality were being 
torn to shreds. The ominous rumblings of the ap-' 
proaching revolution in France were heard all over 
western and central Europe. The foundations of 
the great deep were breaking up. To Schleiermacher's 
parents the institutions of the Moravians seemed an 
ark of safety for their children, and especially for 
their gifted son. Mainly, perhaps, they were in the 
right. His sympathetic, sensitive spirit, united with a 
keen intelligence, might not have withstood at that 


time the unmediated shock of a fierce onset of ration-' 
aHsm. With his habit of introspection he might have 
been driven to a moody mysticism, or with his pene- 
trating intellect to a blank skepticism. 

The immediate outcome was gratifying. At Nie- 
sky he yielded himself heartily to the surrounding 
religious influences. At the end of three months he 
was admitted by lot to membership in the society, to 
the great joy of his parents and his sister Lotte, who 
took a similar step about the same time. A period 
of religious elevation ensued. His mother writes, 
in October, 1783, "Let us therefore, my dear son, 
cling firmly to him alone who is the faithful shepherd 
of our souls ; let us give up our hearts entirely to him ; 
let us pour out all our gifts to him; let us speak to his 
heart and pray daily to him to cast out and take away 
everything that tends to separate us from him." His 
eager participation in these sentiments appears in a 
letter to Lotte just then : "When I find that I do not 
love the Savior enough, that I do not sufficiently honor 
him; when the daily intercourse with him does not 
go on uninterruptedly, then I am distressed." And 
later : "The heart may feel the peace and love of 
Jesus, as I can assert from my own experience, thanks 
be to his mercy." By the advice of his spiritual 
guardian he became, in February, 1784, a candidate 
for admission to the Supper — for actual entrance 
within the circle of the reborn. The way in which he 
speaks of the prospect brings out his warmth of feel- 
ing, but at the same time the superstitious regard for 


the Supper, which Lutheranism and Moravianism in- 
herited from CathoHcism. "On Maundy-Thursday I 
am to partake of the Savior's flesh and blood in the 
Holy Supper."^ The very sight of the celebration 
fills him with holy reverence. At this time he voices 
his feelings to his sister in such utterances as, "Ah, 
did but the love of Jesus fill our hearts day and night !" 
"Think of me and love thy brother who loves thee in 
Jesus." He speaks also of longings for the world 
beyond. There is nothing in his correspondence at 
this time to suggest that it is from the hand of a youth- 
of sixteen. It is altogether unnatural and one is 
tempted to treat it as nothing better than mere senti- 
mentalism. But it was very pleasing to his father and 
the Brethren. His Uncle Stubenrauch alone seems to 
have had some misgivings, and in a letter he gently 
cautions his nephew against the spirit of intolerance 
which the Moravians, with all their warmth of re- 
ligious passion, shared with most Christians at the 
time. The letter includes an admonition against 
overlooking "the great amount of evil that has re- 
sulted through many centuries from the early estab- 
lished principle, 'Outside of the church, no salvation/ " 
His stay at the Paedagogium lasted two and a 
quarter years. In the autumn of 1785 he was pro- 
moted to the theological seminary at Barby. The con- 
ditions there were much the same as at Niesky. Every- 
thing was arranged with a view to the promotion of 
religious development in the pietistic sense. The 

Meyer, 141. 


twenty-two students, divided into two equal sections, 
lived in the "choir-house" of the single brethren under 
one roof with their spiritual censor. Three religious 
meetings were held daily, and all must attend. No 
intercourse w'as allowed with outside families, the 
town pastors, or the town church. "Useless" and light 
reading material was supposed to be kept out. Modern 
philosophical and theological works — even Kant and 
Lavater — were banned. Yet there were fewer re- 
strictions on liberty than at Niesky. Students found 
it quite possible to evade the rules about reading. 
Copies of leading liberal periodicals and of the works 
of such writers as Lessing, Kant, and Herder were sur- 
reptitiously obtained without difficulty by those who 
desired them. An acquaintance with a wider world of 
thought was sure to arouse in independent-minded 
young men doubts of the trustworthiness of what they 
had been taught. There was soon a rapid falling 
away. Some of the older students went so far as to 
play the part of free-thinkers among their young com- 
rades. Schleiermacher soon came distinctly under the 
influence of this new spiritual atmosphere and the con- 
sequences were as might have been expected. 


When he first went to Barby he gave himself 
mostly to exegetical studies and followed the Herrn- 
huterite methods. He held distinctly to the Moravian 
faith and hoped to become one of the society's accepted 
laborers, though how or where he could not tell. But 


he soon turned to the study of philosophy. A philo- 
sophical club was formed among the students and he 
became an active member of it along with Albertini, 
his room-mate. The progress of his thought, at 
first glance, seems to have been startlingly rapid. 
Ernesti's influence was not dead. Those fine intel- 
lectual powers that showed their presence so early in 
life, and that had been so long subordinated to a sup- 
posed religious interest, were now revived. That in- 
quiring spirit, exhibited in the questionings of his 
schoolboy days, reasserted its claims. A change came 
over him. The rational understanding began to take 
precedence of the religious feeling. He felt suspicious 
of an orthodoxy that shunned an open battle with its 
foes. Suspicion developed into doubt and doubt into 
skepticism. He awoke as if from a dream. By the 
end of the second semester he had definitely rejected 
the orthodox system. The strain of this new situa- 
tion soon became unbearable. He decided, though with 
much hesitancy, to unburden his mind to his father. 
The letters that passed between the father and the son 
on the subject have been so interesting to the present 
writer that extracts from them are given herewith in 
the hope that similarly they may interest the reader. 
The first intimation that a change was in progress 
was given in a letter to his father in July, 1786. He 
complains that his desire for a thorough study of the- 
ology has not been met by his teachers. Students are 
"kept within too narrow limits in point of reading. 
Except what we see in the scientific periodicals, we 


learn nothing about the objections, arguments, and 
discussions raised at the present day in regard to exe- 
gesis and dogmatics." A suspicion has been aroused 
in his mind that the objections of the "innovators" 
must be difficult to refute. In reply the father assures 
him that ignorance of the objections and criticisms of 
the innovators is no loss. "Keep out of the way 
of this tree of knowledge and of that dangerous love 
of profundity which would lure you to it Be- 
sides, you do not intend to be a vain theologian but are 
preparing to equip yourself to bring souls to the 
Savior, and for that purpose you do not need all that 
vain knowledge." Then, as if half-divining the pur- 
pose so soon to be formed in the son's mind, he adds, 
"You cannot sufficiently thank your Savior for having 
brought you into the community of the Brethren 
where you can do so well without it." In lieu of mod- 
ern scientific and philosophic studies he urges the 
young man to content himself with the Bible and cer- 
tain edifying books whose theme is "the martyrdom 
of God .... who died on the cross for us." 

In January, 1787, six months after his first intima- 
tion of the intense struggle that had begun within 
him, he wrote that letter which announced to his as- 
tonished and bewildered parent the disappointment of 
all the hopes of former days. That faith which his 
father believed to be essential to salvation in the next 
world and tranquillity in this, is now lost to him. Here 
are his words : 


I cannot believe that he who called himself the Son of Man 
was the true eternal God; I cannot believe that his death was 
a vicarious atonement because he never expressly said so him- 
self; and I cannot believe it to have been necessary, because 
God, who evidently did not create men for perfection, but for 
the pursuit of it, cannot possibly intend to punish them eternally 
because they have not attained to it. 

He declares that it pains him to the depth of his 
soul to write as he has done; indeed, he has shrunk 
from it and has brought himself to do it at last only 
at the command of his superiors at college, to whom he 
had evidently communicated his thoughts. He has not 
abandoned utterly the hope of returning to the views 
of the Brethren, but that can never be if he remains 
at the seminary. He pleads to be permitted to go to 
Halle, where he could live under the guardianship of 
his uncle, Professor Stubenrauch, and pursue his in- 
vestigations unhindered. He concludes : "In sorrow, 
dear father, I kiss your hands, and entreat you to look 
at everything from the most favorable side, and to 
consider well, and to bestow upon me in future also, 
as far as it is possible, that fatherly affection which 
is so indescribably valued by your distressed and most 
dutiful son." 

This letter gives evidence in every sentence of the 
clearest sincerity of purpose and earnestness of soul. 
Further, we must not do young Schleiermacher the 
injustice of charging him with youthful precipitancy 
in expressing himself as he did. He was only eighteen 
at the time, but he was far beyond most men of his 
years in maturity of judgment. In order to under- 


stand his radical expressions of doctrinal dissent/we 
must keep in mind that the views of Zinzendorf were 
at that time generally accepted by the Brethren, and 
to them Jesus was virtually identical with God the 
Father (although they denied the charge of patri- 
passionism), or perhaps we might say that Jesus had 
displaced God the Father in their minds. The sub- 
stitutionary death of God on the cross — with a good 
deal of emphasis on the physical — was the very es- 
sence of the gospel. Schleiermacher knew that from 
his father's point of view, and from his own up to 
that time (and as yet he appeared to have found 
nothing to take its place), the rejection of that doctrine 
meant the renunciation of Christianity itself. But 
the letters which followed this first fateful message 
make it quite evident that the young man had not 
renounced his religion but was unable to make quite 
clear to himself or to others the distinction between 
religious faith and belief in a doctrine of religion. At 
this point I may be permitted to quote the words of 
W. Robertson Nicoll in reference to this event :^ 

The letter .... is the farthest possible from resembling 
the utterance of some callow theologian who imagines that be- 
cause an idea is new to him it is new to everybody else On 

the contrary its tone is throughout humble, self-distrustful, full 
of deepest regret for his lost faith and for the conclusions to 
which he felt, in the meantime, compelled to come; and full, 
even more, of reverential tenderness toward his father and bit- 
terest sorrow for the pain which he is so unwillingly inflicting 
and which he tries to soften by the hope of a change by-and-by. 

* Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher (biographical sketch), 6. 


The distracted father's reply is extremely painful 
reading. Pleading, rebuke, warning, counsel, and de- 
nunciation mingle. He breaks out : "O, thou insensate 
son! Who has deluded thee, that thou no longer 
obeyest the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was 
pictured, and who now crucifiest him?" He charges 
the son's error to love of the world's honors, to wicked- 
ness, conceit, and pride of heart. Then he turns to 
answer the son's arguments, which he thinks a child 
could refute. At length, in exasperation, he goes so 
far as to declare, "With heart-rending grief I dis- 
card thee, for discard thee I must." But this is hardly 
intended literally, for the letter closes with an outburst 
of affection and the desired permission to go to Halle. 

One cannot help admiring the depth of affection 
and unswerving loyalty to his father and the unruffled 
patience which Schleiermacher exhibited in those try- 
ing weeks of excitement and suspense. In all his let- 
ters he addresses the disappointed parent as "Tenderly 
beloved and best of fathers," or in similar terms. Ere 
the father's first reply can reach him, he writes another 
letter to mollifv the wound his first letter made: 

Oh ! how often have I wished that I had been less honest, 
and that I had not disclosed my thoughts to anyone, or at 
least that I had not sent off the letter to you. I should then 
have spared my good father all the pain and troublous conse- 
quences of this matter, the end of which God only knows. 
But it had to be done some time and now I am glad that I 
took courage. 

Most respectfully and yet most firmly in a later 
communication he defends his own sincerity through- 


out, and beseeches his father, ''Do not look at every- 
thing from the worst side; do not seek in my views 
everything exactly the reverse of what you think." 
And then, after modestly traversing the father's argu- 
ments, he quietly asserts that the father's refutation 
of his doubts has not convinced him. Still later he 
even attempts to revive the father's drooping faith 
in the persistent goodness and faithfulness of God: 
"Oh ! that I could now already send you the joyful 
tidings of my conversion, instead of referring you to 
the future, begging you not to give up all hope. God, 
w4io is the Father of all, will watch over and guard 
me, and will direct everything for the best." He 
meekly receives the father's rebukes as to his faults, 
and says, "You have at once, dear father, put your 
finger on my most dangerous enemy — pride." A 
softening of the father's bitter feeling was one result 
and before long the tone of reproach in his letters dies 

The permission to go to Halle was granted none 
too soon, for the officials at Barby could not tolerate 
such a heretic in their midst. He knew he "could 
reckon upon no pity, no mercy here, nor hope to be 
allowed to remain here." They had decided to turn 
him adrift. 

It is worth while in passing to notice that this 
great change in Schleiermacher had a lasting effect 
on the mind of the father himself. As he followed 
his son's career with fatherly interest and concern, 
his own earlier interest in philosophical and theological 


studies began to return and, whether for better or for 
worse, his Moravian sympathies were weakened and 
broader views found a place in his convictions. 

It can scarcely be disputed that the influence of 
Moravianism on the mind of Schleiermacher was per- 
manently beneficial. To that, more than to any other 
single element in his character, he owes the peculiar 
place he has won in the world. His experiences at 
Niesky and Barby may be regarded as having set for 
Schleiermacher the problem of his whole life, which, 
Liicke says,*^ was the "union without compromise 
of free science and Christian piety." If we may antici- 
pate at this point the backward survey which naturally 
occurs when his whole career has been described, we 
can say that he was above all else a religious man and 
his religion was characterized by the warmth of feel- 
ing, love of brotherly fellowship, vivid realization of 
the nearness of God, and peculiar regard for the per- 
son of the Savior which is associated with Moravian- 
ism. At the same time it cannot be doubted that his 
separation from them was a distinct gain. Had he 
remained with them he could never have attained to 
that breadth of human sympathy, deep insight into 
the relation between the religious life and the common 
things of the world, and that intellectual wealth which 
made him one of the great forces in the modern re- 
ligious and theological world. It was the defects of 
Moravianism that drove him out. The union of 
Herrnhuterite religious feeling with Calvinistic the- 

''Erinnerungen von Schleiermacher: Studien und Kritiken 1834, 754. 


ology was rather forced. The correspondence effected 
between experience and the external authority of doc- 
trine was artificial. There was, after all, a subtle 
legalism in it all. When a wider knowledge of human 
thought brought a new world into view, it was inevi- 
table that his over-strained spirit should revolt and 
seek for freedom elsewhere. 


Schleiermacher went to Halle in the spring of 
1787 and remained there two years. He then accom- 
panied his uncle to Drossen, where the latter had 
accepted a pastorate, and stayed with him a year. 
These three years represent an important period in 
our young theologian's spiritual development, for at 
this time he began to get his theological bearings. It 
is true that in his own opinion' he was seriously 
handicapped at the outset, for, as he says, he knew 
almost nothing of the outside world, was conscious of 
a great deficiency in suppleness of mind and outward 
polish, had been given a disparaging view of the moral 
character of his future comrades, was shy of com- 
pany, and enervated by depressing circumstances. But 
on the other hand he was encouraged by his loving, 
sister Lotte's unwavering confidence in him, by the 
many evidences of his father's growing desire to pro- 
mote his studies, and, perhaps most of all, by the 
friendship and wise counsel of his considerate uncle. 
This thoughtful man had observed with interest and 

' Rowan, Aulobiography, I, 12. 



concern the change that had been taking place in his 
nephew's mind and had written to him letters which 
were full of sympathy but also contained an admoni- 
tion to beware of precipitancy in his thinking. Now 
he took the young man into his own home and for 
these three years their thoughts freely mingled. 

Moreover, Schleiermacher's desire for an unre- 
stricted study of the questions that distressed him was 
now realized. At Halle he entered upon a course 
of reading, continued for many years, which included 
in its scope almost all that was of high value in ancient, 
philosophy and theology and the most famous writers 
of the age of the Reformation. Plato and Aristotle; 
the neo-Platonists ; Origen and Augustine among the 
church Fathers; Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin 
among the Reformers; Spinoza, Descartes, and Locke; 
and later, Lessing, Kant, Wolff, and Herder ultimately 
became food to the omnivorous appetite of this young 
student and were made to contribute their quota to the 
makeup of his mature thought later on. His reading 
at Halle was not well connected and his thought was 
quite unorganized. He chose his own course of read- 
ing and paid rather indifferent attention to the regular 
class-work of the university. This course of action 
was regarded with disfavor by professors and students 
and was afterward regretted by himself. However, 
his state of mind at the time may have made inevitable 
the neglect of studies that did not seem to have the 
solution of his problem directly in view. One thing 
he did pursue with intense zeal — the history of human 


opinion, which is surely essential to a thorough grasp 
of theology. 

We know little of his religious experiences at this 
time, for the subject is rarely mentioned in his letters. 
He mentions at times the kind Providence of God and 
expressed his trust in the heavenly Father. That he 
felt he had some sort of Christian message to give to 
men is evident from his application in the spring of 
1790 for ordination as a licentiate in the Reformed 
church, to his father's great satisfaction. In one of 
the father's letters of that spring, which deprecates 
on the one hand the trend of the new methods of Scrip- 
ture exegesis and the tendency to abolish the Augsburg 
confession as a standard authority, and on the other 
hand the compulsory acceptance of orthodoxy, we come 
across the curious advice to the son to imitate his own 
example of an earlier unbelieving period of life in not 
attacking the orthodox faith concerning the person of 
Christ, but utilizing it in the cause of morality and of 
love to God and man. This respect he thought was 
due to the belief which had been a blessing to millions. 
The son seemed to have acquiesced. Their corre- 
spondence at this time evinces a deep mutual affection 
and respect and a desire to avoid any occasion of dif- 
ference. But the uncle continues to exercise the 
greater influence, and Schleiermacher ever afterward 
treasured a grateful memory of those days of quiet 
intercourse with the man who helped him to attain 
to some definiteness and coherency of theological views 
and to lay hold of a purpose in life. 



The examination pro licentia was duly passed and 
he was ordained by Mr. Sack, chaplain in ordinary 
to the king. The same gentleman secured for him a 
tutorship in the family of Count Dohna of Schlobitten 
in Prussia. Here he remained for three years. The 
new experience was extremely profitable. Participa- 
tion in the happy home life of a wealthy and cultured 
family brought him a new freedom and polish of 
manners. The work of teaching, visiting the sick 
people of the community, and, after a time, of occa- 
sional preaching brought home to him a deeper sense 
of responsibility and the consciousness of a mission. 
This, he declared, more than made up for the want 
of a library to read and of money to buy one. 

His sister Lotte's influence becomes very manifest 
at this time. Before she left her father's roof to 
live in the Moravian choir-house her father noticed 
what he playfully termed "the miserly idolatry" with 
which she brooded over Fritz's letters. This noble 
young woman followed her gifted brother's career 
with the most affectionate solicitude for his moral 
and spiritual well-being and proved more than once 
in times of danger a guardian angel to him. That 
he was conscious of making spiritual progress is evi- 
dent from the occasional modest references he makes 
to his own inner state. For example, in a letter to 
his father he says, "I feel that I am becoming a better 
man." He has the love of preaching and of sermon- 
making. He w'rites more sermons than he preaches 


and many sermons that he never preached were de- 
livered several times over in thought. Some of the 
subjects selected are significant, as, "On the Duties 
Imposed by the Certainty of a Resurrection"; "On 
the History of Thomas (the Apostle) and Rational 
Belief"; "On the Coming of Christ as Putting an End 
to the Nonage of Man." At this time also begins 
his personal acquaintance with the great leaders of 
German thought. In a letter to his father, written 
May 15, 1 79 1, he speaks of spending at Konigs- 
burg "a half-hour with Mr. Kant and a few other 

His stay with the Dohna family came to an end 
through his refusal, on account of personal convic- 
tions, to conform to the parents' ideas of education. 
He left Schlobitten in May, 1793. After four months 
again at Drossen he went to Berlin to teach in the 
Kornmesser Orphan Asylum. Here he also preached 
frequently, and a year later his desire to enter the 
regular pastorate was gratified by an appointment to a 
curacy at Landsberg on the Warthe. A letter from his 
sister in October, 1794, brought to him the news of 
his father's death. At that time he wrote to her : 
"Had I felt when I lost my mother that which I now 
experience in giving up my father, it would have been 
too much for a human heart." Then recalling the 
painful incident of his leaving Barby he says: 

There was a period, the remembrance of which now often 
forces itself upon me, during which I mistook the heart of our 
excellent father ; when I thought he was too hard upon me and 


judged me falsely, because I was not of the same opinion as he. 
A certain coldness of feeling toward him, which arose in conse- 
quence, now seems to me the darkest spot in my existence. But 
in secret I have acknowledged my injustice, and he forgave me 
without my asking it. 

In this generous spirit he turns the blame for their 
trouble entirely upon himself. But when we search 
in this letter for some reference to the Christian as- 
surance of immortality we are disappointed at finding 
nothing except "Peace ! peace be with his ashes, and 
may his soul ever delight itself in his children!" It 
may be that he had special reasons for reticence on this 
great subject, especially in a communication to such 
an ardent Herrnhuter as his sister, but it is most likely 
that he conscientiously refrained from anything ex- 
plicit on a subject on which he seems at the time to 
have had no very settled conviction. 

The next eight years of Schleiermacher's life, from 
1796 to 1804, represent the period during which he 
emerged from semi-obscurity to a recognized place 
among the scholars of his native country and began 
to exercise an influence in her affairs. Till 1802 he 
was chaplain of the Charite Hospital in Berlin, and 
then for two years he was court preacher at Stolpe 
in Pomerania. In 1804 he removed to Halle. For 
the greater portion of this time his life-story may be 
drawn from his correspondence. His letters disap- 
point us, however, by their very scanty references to 
his work as a preacher, but they relate principally to 
literary efforts and his relations with a brilliant circle 


of friends among whom he found a warm place. His 
course, though mainly controlled by high ideals, was 
marked at times by a wavering moral judgment and 
would scarcely justify anticipations of that power and 
eminence to which he afterward attained. 


Shortly after coming to Berlin he became ac- 
cjuainted with the family of Dr. Marcus Herz. Dr. 
Herz was a Jewish physician of some distinction and 
a man of learning. His wife, a woman of unusual 
beauty united with splendid intellectual gifts and a 
fine culture, made their home a center of attraction 
to many men and women of good breeding and high 
literary attainment. The social gatherings at their 
home were characterized by intimate personal inter- 
course and the free, informal discussion of those 
questions of science, philosophy, politics, literature, 
and religion in which educated people are commonly 
interested. Among the members of this social club 
were Friedrich Schlegel, Alexander and Wilhelm von 
Humboldt, Moritz, the elder and the younger Spalding, 
Nicolai, Reichhardt the composer, Schadow the sculp- 
tor. Count Christian Bernsdorff, the Danish-Prussian 
statesman Count Alexander von Schlobitten, eldest 
son of the Dohna family where Schleiermacher had 
been tutor (later he became minister of state in 
Prussia), Brinkmann, and Fessler. Of these talented 
men none excelled Schleiermacher in sparkling wit. 


quiet humor, keen penetration into the heart of every 
question, and power of deep reflection. With these 
quaHties were united a warmth of personal feeling 
and a cherished regard for the ties of friendship that 
won for him the firm confidence and the admiration 
of men and women alike and soon made him the 
center of attraction to the company. His nature 
craved for sympathy and as freely gave it out. The 
unstinted measure in which he poured his affectionate 
regards upon his friends of both sexes sounds rather 
sentimental to the colder-hearted Anglo-Saxon and at 
times seems reprovable, but, as he said himself, such 
was his nature, there was no remedy for it, and if 
there were he should not wish to employ it. A less 
unselfish man would have been more guarded and spar- 
ing in his self-expression. 

Such a man was likely to find his most intimate 
acquaintances among women. His refined, delicately 
constructed, sensitive nature was best understood by 
them. This he was aware of, and at the same time he 
felt that he was a debtor to them principally for th© 
most ennobling influences he had experienced. Once 
he wrote : "It is through the knowledge of the feminine 
heart and mind that I have learnt to know what real 
human worth is." But we are not to regard him as 
lacking in manliness, for the letters to his intimate 
women friends of those days, while not clear of emo- 
tional excess and some rather dull moralizing, are 
always characterized by a pure and deep respect for 
them and by the utterance of noble sentiments. 


His sister Lotte, whom he kept closely informed 
of all his experiences, from her cloister at Gnadenfrei 
viewed these intimacies with misgivings and wrote to 
him rather deprecatingly. In reply he went carefully 
over his whole course and assured her that all was well. 
But, though he was unconscious of it, she was partly 
right. At Mrs. Herz's he met Friedrich Schlegel, the 
Romanticist, and at once entered into friendly relations 
with him. With his customary exaggeration of a 
friend's good qualities he was full of admiration for 
Schlegel's really powerful intellect and soon came to 
confide deeply in him. When at length they took up 
adjoining rooms in one house this intimacy increased. 
The consequences were of a mixed nature. Schlegel 
was probably the first to impart to Schleiermacher an 
incentive to high literary effort. It began in the form 
of contributions to the Athenaeum, a periodical edited 
by the brothers Schlegel. This was in 1798. During 
the next year he published anonymously the work that 
first brought him fame, Discourses on Religion to the 
Educated among Its Despisers, of which we shall 
speak again. He and Schlegel next began in collabora- 
tion a translation of Plato's Dialogues, but Schlegel. 
rather dishonorably, abandoned the work before it 
had gone far, and Schleiermacher, with his accustomed 
perseverance, completed the undertaking, though it 
involved many years of hard labor. This translation 
of Plato remains one of Schleiermacher 's great literary 
monuments. So much to the credit of Schlegel's in- 
fluence. But, on the other hand, some of Schleier- 


macher's friends viewed with disfavor his friendship 
for a man \yhose character was so opposite to his own, 
and not unreasonably; for the latter's morahty was 
open to serious objection. Great was the astonishment 
of many when Schleiermacher wrote a defense of 
Schlegel's Lucindc, a work regarded as immoral. He 
claimed to find in this novel a higher meaning than 
appeared on the surface, but his comment appeared 
to his friends like a good sermon on a bad text. This 
cost him the loss of the favor of Sack, the influential 
court preacher. Notwithstanding Schleiermacher's 
error of judgment as to Schlegel's faults, we cannot 
but admire his unwillingness to turn away from a man 
simply because others did so. In the Studicn mid 
Kritikcii of 1850 their correspondence on the subject 
is published and Schleiermacher's reply to Sack's re- 
proaches brings out the essential nobility of his own 
soul. He wrote, in part : 

Never will I be the friend of a man of disreputable prin- 
ciples; but never either will I, out of fear of the world, with- 
draw the consolations of my friendship from anyone who has 
innocently incurred its bann ; never will I, on account of my 
profession, allow myself to be guided in my actions by the false 
appearances which determine others, instead of by the true 
nature of the circumstances. Were this maxim to be allowed 
sway, we ecclesiastics would be outlaws in the domain of socia- 
bility; for every calumny against a friend, provided it were 
invented with sufficient cleverness to secure belief, would banish 
us from his society. Far from submitting to this, the aim 
which I propose to myself is to lead a life uniformly blameless, 
that in time I may bring it so far, that no unfavorable light 


shall fall upon men on account of any undeserved evil repute in 
which my friends may stand ; but that, on the contrary, my 
friendship may shed a favorable light on their reputation [Miss 
Rowan's translation]. 

Yet as time passed Schleiermacher became aware 
of the incompatibility between his temper and Schle- 
gel's. In a letter of June, 1801, he speaks of "the utter 
dissimilarity of our sensitive natures," and adds pres- 
ently, "Ever in my inmost soul [there are] secrets 
which I camiot impart to him." That year he found 
in a new friend. Pastor Ehrenfried von Willich, a 
man whose heart and mind accorded well with his own. 
Of him Schleiermacher wrote: "Von Willich has not 
Schlegel's deep comprehensive intellect, but he is in 
many respects nearer to my heart." From whatever 
cause, Schlegel and his influence gradually receded 
and gave place to this higher friendship. Years later 
Schlegel became a Roman Catholic. 

Schleiermacher's doctrinal views flowed so directly 
from his religious life and the latter was so largely 
affected by his friendships that it will be proper to 
refer at some length to an episode that constituted the 
only moral shadow that passed over his career, and 
that is fairly traceable, in a measure, to his association 
with Schlegel. The latter had married a Mrs. Doro- 
thea Veit, a member of the club referred to above 
after she had secured a divorce from a husband with 
whom she had no fault to find, but whom she did not 
love. Schleiermacher came very near perpetrating a 
similar wrong, but under different conditions. At 


Mrs. Herz's he met Eleanore Griinow, the ill-matched 
wife of a Lutheran clergyman. Her husband was 
not only a coarse man, but, as Dilthey affirms, im- 
moral. This lady communicated the fact of her unhap- 
piness to Schleiermacher though, it seems, without 
mentioning the charge which Dilthey makes. In those 
days it was a custom in Prussia for parents to arrange 
marriages for their daughters without consulting their 
wishes. The law offered a recompense of equally 
doubtful character by permitting the divorce by mutual 
consent of persons who were unhappy in their union, 
even if no further cause of complaint existed. Schleier- 
macher's view of the primacy of the affections, per- 
haps unconsciously strengthened by his admiration 
for the lady, led him to view such an unloving union 
with horror. He considered it immoral in itself and 
properly to be dissolved. He advised Mrs. Griinow 
to obtain a divorce and, to secure her from want, of- 
fered to marry her himself. She promised, and then 
changed her mind. Schleiermacher's retirement to 
distant Stolpe in 1802 is said to have been occasioned 
by his desire to leave the matter to Mrs. Griinow her- 
self. The correspondence w^ent on at intervals for 
years and was closed by her decision to remain as she 
was. This experience brought Schleiermacher un- 
speakable misery and left him broken-hearted and 
broken in health. It was a bitter lesson he learned, 
but its sobering effect appeared in a saner view of 
ethical relations. Long years after his own marriage 
to a wife more worthy of him he met Mrs. Griinow in 


a large company and, taking her hand, he said, "Elea- 
nore, God has been good to us both." 

The reason for adverting to such an unhappy epi- 
sode in this good man's life is that it brings out some 
of the characteristics of his mind. In the first place 
it indicates a defect in his cast of thought — namely, 
an unsatisfactory view of the nature of the moral 
law. Not that Schleiermacher took an easy view of 
moral obligation so far as his own conduct is con- 
cerned, for no man ever forced himself more sternly 
to the doing of duty. But any system of thought 
which gives the primacy to the affectional, rather than 
the volitional side of human nature, is sure to intro-' 
duce moral confusion. 

However, except in respect to moral judgment, 
Schleiermacher appears to advantage in this whole 
affair. His independence of the conventional, merely 
as conventional, his utter transparency of purpose, and 
his uprightness of character appear in his whole cor- 
respondence in this connection. He mentioned the 
matter freely to his sister Lotte and to his intimat^' 
friends, and made known his intentions to them. He 
could countenance nothing that was surreptitious. 
When Mrs. Griinow requested, after he had gone to 
Stolpe, that his letters be not addressed directly to her 
house, she promptly received a flat refusal, and the 
declaration that she would receive no more letters from 
him. When his hopes at length were blasted he poured 
out his grief as openly in letters to his friends. 



A reader of Schleiermacher's letters written dur- 
ing these years would never suppose from the almost 
incidental references in his letters to his pastoral and 
pulpit work and his literary undertakings that he had 
come to be already a powerful force in the intellectual 
and religious life of Prussia and particularly Berlin. 
Yet such was the case. At the same time that he was 
cultivating those close personal friendships for which 
his nature craved and which he felt to be indispensable 
to any meaningful life for him, he was engaged in 
the preparation of literary works that were to have 
far-reaching consequences. In 1799 he published a 
book that was to usher in almost a revolution in the 
religious life of Prussia and to constitute a turning- 
point in the course of theological science. I refer to 
his Discourses on Religion to the Educated among 
Its Despisers. The "despisers" referred to are proba- 
bly in the first instance the skeptical members of the 
club that met in the Herz parlors, but in a general 
way the whole school of rationalism. The argument 
of the book will be given in another connection in this 
present work. Here we may simply note that it was a 
defense of religion in general rather than of Christian- 
ity in particular, and claimed for religion a universal 
and necessary place in human experience, such as Kant 
claimed for the moral law. His words on this subject 
came to the reading public like a message from another 
world. Men felt in those dark days that a new prophet 
had arisen, and many of them awoke to a new interest 


in a reality which a specious morahsm had concealed 
from them. Claus Harms, the great evangelist and 
missionary organizer, received from the Discourses 
the first impulse to his great movement. Neander, 
the great church historian, was brought by it out of 
Judaism to evangelical Christianity. It is considered 
to have played a part second to none in arousing the 
patriotism of Prussia for the struggle with Napoleon 
Bonaparte, because by it men apprehended the magni- 
tude of the interests at stake. It is still being repub- 
lished and translated, and modern scholars of note 
are still devoting time to the discussion of it. Oman* 
says : "It may be questioned whether, after Kant's 
Critique and Goethe's Wilhelm Meistcr, any book of 
the period has had such a lasting effect; there is cer- 
tainly no question that it foreshadows the problems 
chiefly discussed among us today as is done by no 
other book of the time." 

The truth is that Schleiermacher had found no 
food for his soul in the rationalism into which he had 
passed on leaving the Moravians, and his Moravian 
faith was returning, though as yet it was tinged with 
romanticism. Romanticism with its canonization of 
the aesthetic sentiments is itself a poor substitute for 
rationalism, at least the higher rationalism. For the 
nobler types of the latter accord a dignity to the prin- 
ciples of morality and elevate human life above the 
play of mere feeling or passion. But after all mere 
ethics is not theology and mere morality is not re- 

' Discourses on Religion, Introd., x. 


ligion. Man is a being possessed of something more 
than thought and will. He has emotions and these 
are often as safe a clue to character as mere will or 
mere intellect. Rationalism had neglected the claims 
of feeling, which religion cannot ignore. Romanticism 
was at least an assertion that feeling is a non-negligible 
factor in the estimate of human nature. It supplied 
to Schleiermacher a bridge by which he made the 
transition from a dry and insipid morality to a warm, 
religious experience, like that of his earlier years. The 
changes made in the second edition of the book, in 
1806, showed that by this time he had come to a warm 
evangelical faith. But a greater influence than that 
of romanticism was at work within him. Before the 
book appeared there are evidences that his early expe- 
rience among the Moravians was making itself felt. 
His religious spirit was awaking to new vigor and 
was reasserting its sway. His letters of 1789 seldom 
make mention of religious matters, but in a letter to 
his sister Lotte in August of that year he appears 
greatly interested and affected by her account of a 
recent visit to Herrnhut. He exclaims : "How often 
my mind reverts to Albertini and our common studies 
at Niesky! — the depths of his heart are still known 
to me." He had found no solace for his mind in that 
rationalistic view of religion which subordinated it 
to morality. His later antipathy to so-called natural 
religion comes out strongly in a letter written a few 
weeks before the publication of his Discourses. Some- 
one had recommended a work of Hiilsen's on religion. 


Schleiermacher objected, "But it is nature-religion, 
and I doubt, therefore, that it will produce much effect 
on me. My religion is so through and through heart- 
religion, that I have not room for any other." This 
is indeed Schleiermacher's secret. He had seen and 
felt too much of heart-religion to be permanently occu- 
pied with the dry platitudes of rationalism. He now 
yielded himself freely to the sway of his renewed 
Christian faith and endeavored to gain for it a right- 
ful place in the world of thought. Not only so, but 
he felt it to be a part of his mission to free the church 
from bondage to a lifeless creed and the influence of 
religionless men. He felt this in the early part of his 
pastoral career, and even while undertaking extensive 
literary labors he found in preaching his loved voca- 
tion. He wrote to his sister, "Book-writing is a 
strange kind of activity, without life, without face-to- 
face encounter, w^ithout real use. Preaching is bet- 
ter." We find him near the close of his voluntary ' 
exile at Stolpe saying of a new circle of friends there, 
"How sweetly do we all cleave with the same religious 
feeling to the loving and informing Christ! Never 
since I left the Herrnhut congregation have I so re- 
joiced in my Christian feelings and in my Christian 
faith, nor have I ever beheld its living power so spread 
around me" ; and again a little later, to von Willich, 
speaking of "the sweetest mystery of Christ and the 
church, how this is built up through his love, how 
it glorifies and exalts him; and how, through it, the 
whole world is born anew and sanctified." We feel 


that in these words it is a Moravian who speaks. But 
there is a difference. To their warm piety and deep 
rehgious feehng he united, on the one hand, a fearless 
and thorough pursuit of all that human learning could 
contribute to the solution of life's problems and, on 
the other, a participation in human affairs, from which 
the Moravians, with their semi-monastic piety, shrank. 
Yes, he was a Moravian again, but truly of a higher 

In addition to the Discourses he published, in 1800, 
his Monologues (a presentation of his philosophical 
views), considerable portions of his Plato, Two 
Impartial Judgments on Protestant Ecclesiastical Af- 
fairs, anonymously, and, in 1803, A Critical Inquiry 
into Existing Systems of Ethics, regarded by scholars 
as epoch-making. This last was composed while he 
was in wretched health and not expecting to live long. 
"This book," he writes, "is my gravestone." But 
though suffering much in mind and body he went on 
steadily with it, explaining his action by saying, "Just 
as a man ought to do nothing because of death, so 
also he ought to leave nothing undone because of 
death." However, the prospect of professorial work 
at the University of Wurzberg or at Halle, and later 
in Berlin, revived his spirits and his health. It was 
impossible that a man of his ability should long remain 
comparatively hidden, and in 1804 the government 
appointed him extraordinary professor at Halle, and 
preacher at the university, with the promise of a future 
appointment at Berlin, should a new university be 


founded there. It is significant of his theological posi- 
tion at the time and of his independence of judgment 
that one of the conditions on which he accepted the 
new position was that the difference between the Lu- 
theran and Reformed confessions should be over- 
looked, "lest my hands as a member of the Reformed 
church should be bound." 


Schleiermacher went to Halle in October, 1804. 
He did not find conditions there very satisfactory. 
His professorial work was of a rather varied nature 
and indefinite in range. We find him lecturing on 
Plato, philosophical ethics, introduction to the study 
of theology, fundamental Christian doctrines, and 
dogmatics, and delivering public exegetical lectures on 
the Epistle to the Galatians, and all within a single year. 
The delay and uncertainty as to his appointment to a 
regular professorship vexed him. Moreover, the ar- 
rangement for his preaching services at Halle were by 
no means to his liking. The stiffness and want of life 
in the liturgy he could not abide. His desires for a 
change in this respect were quickened by a visit to 
Barby in the spring of 1805, when he witnessed a 
Moravian Easter service. A letter written just after 
this visit sets forth his feelings at the time : 

There is not throughout Christendom in our day a form of 
public worship which expresses more worthily or awakens more 
thoroughly the spirit of true Christian piety than does that of 
the Herrnhut brotherhood. And while absorbed in heavenly 


faith and love I could not but deeply feel how far behind them 
we are in our church, where the poor sermon is everything and 
even this is hampered by meaningless restrictions, while, on the 
other hand, it is subject to every change in the times and is 
rarely animated by a true and living spirit. 

He hoped soon to transplant something of its 
nature into the services at Halle. He experienced on 
that occasion a renewal of the drawing toward the 
Moravian communion, and goes on to say, rather 
regretfully : 

They would not have refused me permission to partake of 
the Lord's Supper with the congregation, but I would not ask 

for what I knew to be contrary to rule While dwelling 

on my loneliness in the world and my separation from those 
who, I believe, form the truest Christian communion which 
exists in the outward world, I consoled myself with the thought 
of the secret and scattered church to which we all belong and 
of the common spirit which animates it. 

He felt so dissatisfied with the state of things at 
Halle that in the spring of 1806 he was disposed to ac* 
cept an invitation to the pastorate at Bremen, but by 
certain concessions was prevailed on to remain. We 
might trace without difficulty, if space would permit, 
his struggle through the rest of his life against formal- 
ism. A state-controlled church was a veritable prison 
to a liberty-loving spirit like his, that longed for a lofty 
flight. The dread of Separatism helped to keep him 
within it, but to the end of his days he battered his 
wings against the bars of his cage without much avail. 

While at Halle he met Goethe once or twice, but 


about the only thing he said of their interview was 
that they conversed together hke old acquaintances. 
It is more important to note that he found there a 
kindred spirit in a Norwegian member of the faculty, 
Steffens by name. A warm friendship soon sprang 
up between them and continued through the vicissi- 
tudes through which central Europe was then passing. 
When the war with France broke out he and Steffens 
shared the same dangers, suffered the same losses, 
occupied portions of the same lodgings, and partook 
of the same scanty supply of food. Their friendship 
was based on religious sympathies. This is incidentally 
brought to our knowledge in a note Steffens makes of 
a little time they spent together in an inn at Ostrow : 
"Never did the deep religiosity of his nature strike me 
more favorably. The Savior was with us as he prom- 
ised to be 'where two or three are gathered.' " The 
excellent opportunity Steffens enjoyed of observing 
Schleiermacher under a great variety of circumstances 
makes the following pen-portrait he gives of Schleier- 
macher in those days especially valuable :^ 

Schleiermacher was small of stature and slightly deformed, 
but so slightly as hardly to be disfigured by it. His movements 
were quick and animated, his features highly expressive. A 
certain sharpness in his eye acted, perhaps, repulsively at times. 

He seemed, indeed, to look through everyone His face 

was long, his features sharply defined, his lips firmly and se- 
verely closed, his chin prominent, his look always earnest, col- 
lected, and self-possessed. I saw him under various circum- 

' Rowan, II, 27. 


stances in life — deeply meditative and sportive, mild and fired 
with anger, moved by sorrow and joy — but ever an unalterable 
composure greater, mightier than every passing emotion, seemed 
to dominate his being. A slight expression of irony played 
round his features ; the sincerest sympathy ever animated his 
heart; and an almost childish goodness shone through the out- 
ward calm. His constant presence of mind had sharpened his 
features in a remarkable degree. Even while engaged in the 
most animated conversation nothing escaped him. He saw 
everything that was passing around him and heard everything, 
even the most low-toned conversation. 


But the progress of events was now opening for 
him a sphere of wider influence. Prussia was enter- 
ing on her Hfe-and-death struggle with Napoleon Bona- 
parte, and in the storm and stress of those bitter days 
the preacher and lecturer became the Christian patriot. 
Prussia, led by her king and oligarchy, had played of 
late a rather unworthy part in the affairs of Europe. 
Pier government had fawned on Napoleon, hoping 
to enjoy his favor and in alliance with him to hold 
her territory intact or make fresh accessions without 
cost to herself. That shrewd man, great in diplomacy 
as in the battlefield, had utilized her friendship tem- 
porarily for his own ends, but the time had now come 
to despoil her. His heavy exactions and the clamors 
of the people forced the Prussian government at length 
to declare war. But Napoleon crushed her like a 
snuffbox. At Auerstadt and Jena her power was 
broken, and from her surrendered capital the con- 


queror issued to the world his famous "Berlin de- 
crees" against England. 

Schleiermacher had been by no means unobservant 
of European affairs or unconscious of the mean spirit 
of the Prussian government. He clearly foresaw the 
approaching troubles of his country and a strong patri- 
otic spirit rose within him. He felt that Prussian 
sentiments, mental culture, and religion were at stake. 
In the early stages of the French Revolution he had 
sympathized with the Democratic party in France, and 
when Louis XVI was beheaded he did not share in 
the common feeling of horror. But the infant French 
democracy had soon given place to a virtual autocracy ; 
his own deep love of liberty and his intense national 
sentiment aroused in him a determination to fight for 
the salvation of his fatherland. At the same time he 
perceived that Prussia was ill-prepared to defend her- 
self, principally on account of the chasm between her 
government and her people. With the eye of a true 
statesman he saw that a war for freedom must be 
carried on by king and nation together, "not by kings 
and their hired armies." Aware that the struggle on 
which the government was at length about to enter 
with Napoleon must ultimately promote the cause of 
freedom, he exclaims, "I exult in the war against the 
tyrant, which I think is now unavoidable." 

When disaster fell upon the Prussian arms and 
Halle was taken, his house was plundered by French 
soldiers. He and his half-sister Nanni, who had come 
to live with him, and the Steffens family were reduced 


to destitution. Only by the kindness of a French 
officer were they able to secure enough firewood to 
keep from freezing in the winter of 1806-7. The 
times were serious enough for him, but he writes 
jocosely of his experiences and his ''potatoes and 
salt" diet. Napoleon closed for the time being the 
University of Halle, lest it should nourish patriotic 
feeling, and threatened to remove it. Its future was 
uncertain. If Halle should be turned over to Saxony, 
Schleiermacher would not remain in it, for the Saxons 
were such stiff Lutherans that he knew a member of 
the Reformed church could not be happy in the uni- 
versity. "If the town fall to the share of a French 
prince," he said, "I, for my part, will not abandon it, so 
long as there is anywhere a Prussian hole to which 
I can retire." He declined a second invitation to 
Bremen until he should be sure that the university 
w^as definitely closed. The upshot was that he severed 
his connection with the University of Halle, because 
it came under the authority of Jerome Bonaparte, the 
new king of Westphalia, and because he could not 
conscientiously obey the order to offer public prayer 
for the new king and queen or put himself in opposi- 
tion to the German spirit. In the end of 1807 we 
find him delivering lectures in Berlin, whither he had 
removed in consequence of the Prussian government's 
declaration of its intention to found a university to 
take the place of Halle. His name was being talked 
of in connection with a professorship there. What 


his purpose was we may gather from a letter written 
to a friend about that time : 

One determination only I hold fast and that is, to follow 
the fortunes of my immediate fatherland, Prussia, as long as 
it continues to exist and does not prove itself quite unworthy of 
this resolve. Should it entirely succumb, then I will, as long as 
it is possible, seek the German fatherland wherever a Protestant 
can live and a German governs. 

It was this spirit animating the breasts of patriots 
Hke himself, which saved Prussia and ultimately raised 
her to the headship of modern Germany. 


Before we follow farther the career of Schleier- 
macher during the Napoleonic wars, we must turn 
aside to notice certain domestic events. The friend- 
ship between him and Ehren fried von Willich has 
already been mentioned. Begun in the summer of 
1 80 1, it deepened with time. When the young pastor 
married, his home became Schleiermacher's chief re- 
sort for the inspirations and consolations of human 
fellowship. Von Willich looked upon him as an 
elder brother, and the wife regarded him as a spiritual 
father. When their "Schleier," as they familiarly 
called him, came to see them, there was always a free 
mutual outpouring of joys and sorrows. The love 
of friends like these he described as "my highest good, 
without which neither the world nor anything in 
it would have the smallest value in my eyes." (We 
shall remember this when we come to the vital place 


he assigns to the Christian communion in his Glaiibcns- 
Ichre.) On the outbreak of the war von WilHch was 
pastor at Stralsund. When the place was attacked 
he remained with his flock. A fever that became 
epidemic during the siege seized him and, in the be- 
ginning of March, 1807, he died. The young widow, 
left with two infant children, writes a pathetic letter 
to Schleiermacher telling him the awful news. In her 
distress she beseeches him to give her some word of 
assurance that her husband was not lost to her alto- 
gether. The correspondence throws light on the state 
of Schleiermacher's mind at the time. She urges him 
to tell her his inmost convictions on the question of 
the future state and adds, instinctively, that she is not 
without consolation, that in the midst of her anguish' 
she has the rapture of feeling that "love is eternal 
and that God cannot possibly destroy it, because God 
himself is love." She goes on to say, "I implore you, 
by all that you love and hold sacred, if you can, give 
me the certainty that I shall see him again, that I shall, 

recognize him Alas ! it will be annihilation to 

me to lose this faith." It would seem that she had 
been led to fear that Schleiermacher held to some 
sort of pantheism, for she asks, "Do you know when 
I feel my grief most poignantly? When I think that 
in the future life there will be nothing left of the 
old, .... and when I think that his soul is merged' 
in the great all ... . that the past will not be rec- 
ognized — that all is over — Oh, Schleier ! this I can- 
not bear." Schleiermacher's reply, though gentle and 


tender, is without the certainty of possessing definite 
information on the point that concerned her most. 
There is even a tone of rebuke, which we find echoed 
in his Glaiihcnslchrc, because of the emphasis she had 
placed on physical existence and her desire that the 
future life should be, in a degree at least, a reduplica- 
tion of the conditions of the present. He says a good 
deal about the "eternal order of things and the neces- 
sity of submitting tranquilly to it, but confesses that 
he cannot undertake to settle her doubts by confirming 
the certainty of the images of the phantasy, which, he 
thought, would be to prefer our own desires to God's 
own order. Yet, "There is the greatest certainty — 
and nothing would be certain if it were not so — that' 
for the soul there is no such thing as annihilation." 
But immediately upon this follows the disappointing 
assertion, "Personal life is not the essence of spiritual 
being; it is only an outward presentment thereof. 
How this is repeated we know not — we can form no 
conception of it, we can only form poetic visions." 
His idea of a merging in the great all was that it was 
not an unconscious condition, but "a living com- 
mingling — as the highest life." He seems to have in 
mind a future life of fellowship without the personal 
separateness and mutual exclusiveness of the present. 
The poetic visions we have of the future life he held 
to be of value because they are anticipations of reality, 
but he seemed to think that the precise nature of that 
future reality is nowhere disclosed to men. Mrs. von 
Willich thanked him for his helpful words, but it 


seems to the writer that her consolations were mainly 
drawn from her own spiritual intuitions. 

The correspondence continued. He finally visited 
Mrs. von Willich at her home on the island of Riigen 
and the personal interview resulted in a betrothal. In 
the year 1809, notwithstanding the extremely unsettled 
state of Prussia and the precariousness of Schleier- 
macher's means of livelihood, they were married. He 
took as much care of her children as if they were his 
own. To them in course of time five others were 
added — two girls and a boy of his, and two adopted 
children. He reveled in the love and joys of the home 
life and found in his wife a companion who, though 
much his junior, entered heartily into his deepest re- 
ligious experiences and his many trying labors. 


The much-talked-of university to be established in 
Berlin at last became a fact. Schleiermacher is con- 
sidered to have had a powerful influence in its forma- 
tion. Fichte was its rector, but Schleiermacher stood 
at the head of the faculty of theology, as Savigny at 
the head of that of jurisprudence, and the organization 
of the theological studies and the spirit he introduced 
into them ushered in a new epoch. His Kiirze Darstel- 
liing des theologischcn Stiidiums, which was published 
at this time, exhibits his view of the nature and rela- 
tions of the various theological sciences. This little 
book was a pathmaker in the proper apprehension of 
the subject, and an evidence of its great value is seen in 


the fact that it is stih being studied and republished. 
For the first time the various theological disciplines 
were comprehended in their integrity by the determina- 
tion of their organic relation to a single principle. 
Schleiermacher's views on the subject have been much 
criticized, but his great merit is beyond dispute. But 
Schleiermacher's activities in Berlin were by no means 
confined to the duties of his professorial position. He 
was incessant in multiform labors for the public good. 
Preaching, lecturing, writing, philanthropic work, par- 
ticipation in ecclesiastical and political affairs, his ef- 
forts in the reorganization of state educational insti- 
tutions, and the instruction of youths went on together. 
Add to this his wide social relations, for his home be- 
came one of the chief social centers in Berlin, and we 
get some idea of the extent of his capacity for work. 
At the same time we find here an explanation of the 
fact that his university lectures were never given that 
completeness and perfection of form which is desirable 
in order to a thorough knowledge of his views. 

To enter extensively into Schleiermacher's con- 
nection with the history of Prussia during the later 
Napoleonic wars would lead us very far afield. We 
must here content ourselves with a few brief refer-, 
ences. The regeneration of Prussia was owing in no 
small degree to him. From a very early period in this 
great struggle he apprehended the immensity of the 
interests at stake and at the same time perceived the 
incapacity of the Prussian government. He saw that 
the power of the French movement lay in its popular 


basis, and felt that the hope of his own country lay in 
her people. They must be aroused to a realization 
of their rights and responsibilities. As he saw it, 
the safety of the German fatherland lay in German 
Protestantism ; the cause of Christianity and the cause 
of Protestantism were one. To him, therefore, the 
conflict with Napoleon was at bottom for the interests 
of true religion, and on that account, unlike Fichte, 
he flung himself into it with all his might. He was 
in close touch, with the political leaders throughout 
and co-operated with them. After the peace of Tilsit, 
which left Prussia clinging to the skirts of Napoleon, 
the nation, stirred to indignation over its humiliation 
and the partition of its territories, began to rouse 
itself to action. A reformation was soon in progress. 
Schleiermacher boldly denounced the selfishness, the 
cowardice, and the want of faith in God which were 
the root of his country's shame, and summoned the 
people to repentance. While patriots like Stein and 
Scharnhorst aimed at placing the civil and military 
affairs of Prussia on a truly national basis, he wrought 
for the reawakening of the church. 

The French were not slow to recognize in him a 
dangerous man, and as early as 1808 one of his letters 
intimates that he had been arrested and brought before 
Marshal Davoust and had been rebuked by that officer 
as a hot-head and provoker of disorder. But his per- 
fect composure during the interview thwarted the 
marshal's intention to keep him under restraint. He 
continued the good work of preparing his countrymen 


for that desperate grapple with the tyrant which he 
felt could not long be delayed. His sermons and his 
lectures pointed that way. His house became a resort 
for Prussian patriots. In one of his letters he notes 
incidentally that at the close of a lecture there was a 
meeting of the Defense Committee at his house. We 
find him in the autumn of 1811 traveling in Silesia on 
a political mission, evidently of a dangerous kind, 
but the exact nature of which is not clear. Between 
the years 181 o and 181 3 his letters frequently express 
alarm over the country's prospects and a deep distrust 
of the character and ability of the royal government. 
After Napoleon's retreat from Moscow he urged 
strenuously that Prussia should identify herself with 
the common interests of Europe, and great was the 
rejoicing when her government broke the alliance with 
Napoleon and declared against him. We find a fine 
expression of his feelings in a sermon^" on "A Nation's 
Duty in a War for Freedom," preached on March 28, 
1813, from Jer. 17:5-8 and 18:7-10, on the occasion 
of the king's summons to the people to unite in the 
cause of the fatherland. He hails the change of policy 
as an evidence of a revived trust in God after a dis- 
graceful submission to a foreign foe and as a renewal 
of their devotion to the divine purpose in the nation'3 
life. He warned the people against personal ambi- 
tion and selfishness and urged all classes to perfonn 
their part. 

" Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher, 67-82 (Biblical Library, edited by 
W. Robertson Nicoll; transl. by Mary F. Wilson). 


On the calling out of the Landwehr ("militia") 
he was one of the first to enrol himself in a regiment 
and submitted to several hours' military drill daily. 
The nature of his influence at the time is vividly rep- 
resented in Bishop Eilert's description (quoted by 
Liicke in Studien and Kritikcn, 1850, and transl. by 
Miss Rowan) of a special occasion when a portion 
of the Landwehr made up of students of the university 
and the Gymnasium as a body requested Schleier- 
macher to preach and administer the sacrament to 
them just before their departure. At eight o'clock on 
the evening of May 13, 1813, they assembled in Holy 
Trinity Church, having piled their arms in and around 
the building. 

After having pronounced a short prayer, full of unction, 
Schleiermacher went up into the pulpit. There, in this holy- 
place and at this solemn hour, stood the physically so small and 
insignificant man, his noble countenance beaming with intellect, 
and his clear, sonorous, penetrating voice ringing through the 
overflowing church. Speaking from his heart with pious enthu- 
siasm his every word penetrated to the heart, and the clear, full, 
mighty stream of his eloquence carried everyone along with it. 
His bold, frank declaration of the causes of our fall, his severe 
denunciation of our actual defects, as evinced in the narrow- 
hearted spirit of caste, of proud aristocracy, and in the dead 
forms of bureaucratism, struck down like thunder and lightning, 
and the subsequent elevation of the heart to God on the wings 
of solemn devotion was like harp-tones from a higher world. 
The discourse proceeded in an uninterrupted stream, and every 
word was from the times and for the times. And when, at last, 
with the full fire of enthusiasm he addressed the noble youths 
already equipped for battle, and next turning to their mothers, 


the greater number of whom were present, he concluded with 
the words: "Blessed is she who has borne such a son; blessed 
is the bosom that has nourished such a babe," a thrill of deep 
emotion ran through the assembly, and, amid loud sobs and 
weeping, Schleiermacher pronounced the concluding Amen. 

Notwithstanding the suspense and terrible anxi- 
eties of those days, his life was a happy one because 
of the character of his family life and enrichment of 
his spiritual nature. For a time, during the war, he 
sent his family into Silesia, thinking it a safer place 
for them than Berlin w^as likely to be. Great was his 
alarm when that country itself became the theater of 
war, but happily they escaped all injury. During this 
time the letters between him and his wife are full of 
expressions of tender regard for each other and their 
children and at the same time of a calm trust in the 
grace and goodness of God. More and more w^e are 
impressed, as we study his career, that in the simple 
relations of everyday life more than anywhere else 
is to be seen the true greatness of this wonderful man. 
We shall see a reflection of this later in the theological 
view of the identity of the spheres of the natural and 
the supernatural. 


At the conclusion of the war, notwithstanding his 
invaluable services to the cause of the country, 
Schleiermacher found himself in a difficult position. 
The overthrow of Napoleon was followed by a vig- 
orous conservative reaction. As it has been said of 


the restored Bourbon house in France, they came back 
"having learned nothing and having forgotten noth- 
ing," so also it might almost be said of Frederick 
William of Prussia. His attitude is indicated by his 
participation with the emperors of Russia and Austria 
in the so-called Holy Alliance, which was simply a 
determined attempt to prevent the rise of freedom 
for the individual and of democracy in government. 
The king attempted to play the part of a Constantine 
or a Charlemagne by trying to bring the church as 
well as the state under direct royal control. Schleier- 
macher was by no means persona grata to him, for he 
could see that individualism in religion spells democ- 
racy in ecclesiastical and state affairs. He had prom- 
ised a commission for the regulation of ecclesiastical 
matters, but, instead, he proceeded to trample under 
foot the spirit of religious liberty and the rights of 
the Reformed church by establishing a strict Luther- 
anism, even going so far as to issue a new liturgyi, 
mostly of his own composition, compulsorily to be used. 
Schleiermacher spoke out manfully in opposition. He 
affirmed that if all that the Reformation did was to 
transfer the pope's power to the prince, then there 
was need of a new Reformation. In his Reflections 
(Giitachten iiber die fiir die Protestantische Kirclie 
dcs Preussischen Staates einsurichtende Synodal-Ver- 
fassung), issued in 1817, he took the ground that just 
as in a free state constitution the power of the execu- 
tive reposes on the active and willing co-operation 
of the citizens, so "the Protestant church consists, in 


truth, of the totahty of the Protestant communities, 
and the clergy are only their servants." He advocated, 
a church constitution based on congregational repre- 
sentation, with presbyteries and synods for the regula- 
tion of all matters of order and discipline. While he 
was an advocate of the (rather abortive) union of 
the Lutheran and Reformed churches of Prussia which 
took place in 1817, he opposed the proposal to issue 
a new creed, foreseeing that it must limit the freedom, 
of the teacher and preacher and become a barrier to 
the progressive apprehension of evangelical truth. He 
held that the teacher must be fettered by no formulae^ 
but only when he so departs from the spirit and truth 
of Christianity as to alienate from him the congrega- 
tion to which he ministers is he to be dealt with by 
the church authorities. He perceived also that the 
king's policy must prove detrimental to Christianity 
by preventing the free critical study of the Scriptures, 
saying, "Purest faith and sharpest testing are one 
and the same, for no one that would believe what is 
divine should wish to believe deceptions, old or new, 
his own or other people's." Moreover his ingrained 
Moravianism appears in his determination to maintain 
freedom and spontaneity of public worship, in which 
the sermon and congregational singing should have 
a large place. 

The religious struggles of those times are re- 
flected in his Glaiibenslehre, or, to use the longer title, 
A Systematic Exposition of the Christian Faith ac- 
cording to the Principles of the Evangelical Church 


(Dcr Christlichc Glaiihe nacli den Grundsatsen der 
cvangdischcn Kirchc in Zusammcnhange dargestellt), 
which the present work is intended to expound. It was 
pubHshed in 1821 and 1822. Throughout this great 
book we may perceive the working of his profound 
conviction that creeds and all formal doctrines are 
only approximate and temporary expressions of re- 
ligious experiences and must ever be subordinated 
thereto. He endeavors, on the one hand, to do justice 
to traditional and current dogmatical statements by 
bringing into relief the religious reality that lies be- 
hind them and, on the other, to indicate the limitations 
of their worth. 

His differences with the civil authorities brought 
Schleiermacher into considerable controversy. His 
advocacy of congregational rights and of the freedom 
of the church from dictation by the state led the king 
to regard him as a secret republican and rendered his 
position insecure. His friend and brother-in-law, 
Arndt, was dismissed in 181 7, and Schleiermacher's 
letters for many years later indicate that for a long 
time he expected the same treatment. But his immense 
hold on the public esteem proved a secure protection, 
and he was left undisturbed. His increasing years 
and his chronic poor health unfitted him to become 
leader of a popular movement for the liberation of 
the church, and at last, so far as the liturgy was con- 
cerned, a compromise was reached, Schleiermacher 
being left free to use it or not to use it as his con- 
science might decide. While the propagation of his 


views had, doubtless, been working for the Hberation 
of the church in Germany, his compromise with the 
authorities postponed it. 


During all these years and up to the close of his 
life, Schleiermacher was carrying concurrently the 
'work of his professorial chair and of his pulpit in 
Holy Trinity. Though continually accusing himself 
of laziness he was more abundant in labors than al- 
most any other man of his day. At one point in the 
war, about the time of the battle of Leipsic, when all 
Berlin was full of excitement, he was the only pro- 
fessor who kept up his lectures. There have been 
more popular and able lecturers but his students were 
always numerous and enthusiastic. That his lectures 
were not written out in complete form need cause no 
surprise when we remember that he treated at one 
time or another every subject in the theological cur- 
riculum. However, what his lectures lacked in form 
and system was compensated for by their richness 
and suggestiveness. It will be generally acknowledged 
that Schleiermacher's pre-eminence as a theologian is 
principally due to the rich veins of thought which he 
only tapped and opened up for other and less compre- 
hensive thinkers to explore. 

As a preacher he has had few, if any, superiors 
in Germany. Old Trinity church has become famous 
as the place where thousands felt the thrill of his warm, 
attractive personality and those stirring appeals that 


found their way into so many hearts. W. Robertson 
Nicoll quotes a German writer as saying that "thou- 
sands were won by him to the Savior." Many others 
received through him a deeper spiritual Hfe. The 
subject-matter of his sermons and his theological 
writings were substantially the same, but of course the 
methods differed. The topics chosen were of very 
wide range, but those relating to personal experience 
predominated. His sermons were prepared in rather 
an extraordinary way. They were never written but 
were composed while his other work was in progress, 
or even in the midst of those social festivities which 
were such a common feature of his home life. He was 
often observed on a Saturday evening, when his home 
was filled with guests, to step aside from the company 
into some corner of the room and there, in a few 
moments, write some notes on the subject on which he 
had been ruminating, and this "brief" he carried into 
the pulpit on the following day. The final form of 
the discourse depended largely on the inspiration of 
the occasiorl. A striking characteristic of his delivery 
was the frequent occurrence of long, involved sen- 
tences which would fill a page or more" of common 
octavo, but, though they were composed on the instant, 
his hearers never detected in them an instance of in- 
correct or defective grammatical construction. We 
are indebted to Miss Rowan for a translation of the 
following portion of Liicke's description ("Erinne- 
rungen," etc., Studien nnd Kritiken, 1834) of his de- 
livery : 


Those who knew the secret [of his method of preparation] 
could follow the artistic structure of his discourse. They per- 
ceived how, at iirst, he spoke slowly and deliberately, somewhat 
in the ordinary tone of conversation, as if gathering and mar- 
shaling his thoughts ; then, after a while, when he had, as it 
were, spread out and again drawn together the entire net of his 
thoughts, his words flowed faster, the discourse became more 
ai^imated, and the nearer he drew to the encouraging or ad- 
monishing peroration, the fuller and richer the stream He 

had modes of expression peculiar to himself and also a sphere 
of thought peculiar to himself. But the richness of his mind 
and the fulness of Christian life in him never allowed any of 
the ordinary defects of extemporaneous preaching to be apparent 
in his sermons and caused one to contemplate with unalloyed 
pleasure his wonderful mastery of the homiletical art and the 

rich fruits it bore It is true that he expected a good deal 

from his hearers, yet in reality no more than attention and 
familiarity with the Scriptures; and as he knew how to rivet the 
attention of the less educated by the freshness and vivacity 
of his mode of delivery and by the constant application of even 
the deepest ideas to practical life and to the actual conditions 
of the church, of family life, and of the fatherland, this explains 
how it was that, although his congregation mostly belonged to 
the educated classes, persons of the lower ranks and even be- 
longing to other congregations were constantly seen in his 
church. I believe that this portion of his congregation steadily 
increased, for just as his whole system of theology was ever in 
living progression, so also the fervor and Christian simplicity 
of his mode of preaching increased year by year in proportion 
as his experience was enlarged and his inner life expanded. 

Considering his immense popularity it is astonish- 
ing to find how seldom in his correspondence he makes 
reference to this part of his work or gives us a hint 
of his influence. But we find a very interesting inci- 


dental remark in one of his letters to his wife: "Today 
I preached in the Cathedral with great fire and to my 
own satisfaction, which is by no means always the 
case." He also took great interest in improving the 
liturgical part of the service, especially the singing — 
thanks to his Moravian training — and, quite in har- 
mony with his view of the nature of religion, favored 
a form of worship of high aesthetic quality. 


One word more must be added concerning his 
family life. He paid the greatest attention to the 
education of his children, stepchildren, and adopted 
children. He shared their pranks and frolics and their 
holiday making and imparted his own freedom and 
spontaneity to their studies. In 1820 he was greatly 
elated over the birth of a son, and on that occasion 
writes, "My first prayer to God was to be inspired 
with wisdom and power from above to educate this 
child to his glory." This child inherited the religious 
precocity of his father and exhibited very early the 
influence of the peculiar Moravian attitude to Jesus 
of which deep traces still remained in Schleiermacher. 
It is related by Auberlen (Studien und Kritiken, i860) 
that on one occasion when the boy was only four 
years old his father asked him : "Nathaniel, dost thou 
love me?" and the child replied, "Yes, I love thee, but 
I love the Savior still better." But his death when 
only nine years of age was so deeply felt by his 
father that he said it drove the nails into his own 


coffin. He himself pronounced the funeral oration 
and went on with his regular work that very day, 
but with a sore heart. He wrote to a friend wearily, 
"Life goes on in its old grooves, but more slowly and 
more heavily." It is said that from the time of this 
bereavement there was a greater depth of sympathy 
in his preaching, and that he spoke more persistently 
of the love of God in Christ. The death in 1831 of 
his elder sister, the faithful Lotte, who had come to 
live in his home after Nanni's marriage, was an added 
sorrow. He was not to survive her many years. 

In 1828 he made his first and only visit to England 
and preached at the opening of a German church at 
the Savoy. He noticed with wonderment the commerce 
and wealth of London. On a visit to St. Paul's he 
was disappointed with the worship and criticized the 
indifference with which the officiating minister con- 
ducted a funeral service which he attended. 

In 1 83 1 evidence was given of the reconciliation 
between him and the king in the tardy recognition of 
his services to the nation by conferring on him the 
decoration of the Order of the Red Eagle. Two 
years later he visited Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. 
His fame had preceded him, and ovations met him 
everywhere, especially at the schools of learning. But 
long-continued suffering had undermined his strength 
and the end was near. A slight cold contracted in 
the middle of the winter of the next year developed 
into pneumonia and after a few days of suffering 
it terminated fatally. He died at his home in Berlin 


on February 12, 1834. The friends who were present 
often spoke of the deathbed scenes. Some of his ut- 
terances may be recorded here. At one time, just 
after recovering from the effects of laudanum, caUing 
his wife to his bedside, he said, *T am, in fact, in a 
state between consciousness and unconsciousness, but 
inwardly I enjoy heavenly moments. I feel con- 
strained to think the profoundest speculative thoughts 
and they are to me identical with the deepest religious 
feelings." Near the last, he said, "I have never clung 
to the dead letter, and we have the atoning death of 
Jesus Christ, his body, and his blood. I have ever be- 
lieved, and still believe, that the Lord Jesus gave the 
communion in water and in wine." (The physician 
had forbidden him to use wine.) After receiving the 
assent of the friends present he added, "Then let us 
take the communion : the wine for you, the water for 

me Let no one take offense at the form." 

Then he calmly gave to each the bread and wine with 
the usual words and, taking the bread and water for 
himself, said soliloquizingly : "On these words of the 
Scripture I rely; they are the foundation of my faith." 
After pronouncing the benediction he said to his wife, 
"In this love and communion we are and ever will 
remain united," and in a few moments expired. It 
is significant of his attitude in religion that his deep 
regard for the Supper and for the communion of be- 
lievers appears at the very close of his life. 

The news of his death caused profound sorrow 
everywhere and was regarded as a national calamity. 


He was buried like a Prince of the country. Thirty- 
six of his students shared among them the honor of 
bearing his body to the cemetery. The carriages of 
the king and the crown prince led the long procession 
of mourners, shop-windows were closed, and thou- 
sands of Berlin's weeping citizens lined the march. The 
sight was a tribute to his own simple greatness and 
at the same time a proof of that deep spiritual sym- 
pathy of the German people that has made so many 
of her university professors the teachers of the world. 


Schleiermacher takes his stand as a theologian 
avowedly within the position of Protestantism. A 
subject of religious experiences on which the Protes- 
tant spirit is nourished, he was profoundly convinced 
that the hope of Christendom lay in the Protestant 
faith. His Glauhcnslchrc was intended to set forth 
the inner meaning and wealth of Protestant Christian- 
ity. A true apprehension of the nature of the Refor- 
mation and the modifications through which it had 
passed in three centuries is therefore essential to a due 
appreciation of Schleiennacher's views. A move- 
ment so complicated in its ramifications and so far- 
reaching in its effects cannot be adequately described 
in a mere sketch, and we shall attempt to outline only 
its chief features so far as they are related to our 
present study. 


Protestantism, like all other impressive phenomena 
in history, sprang out of the concurrent operation of 
many forms of human activity. Political, ecclesiasti- 
cal, social, economic, moral, and religious influences 
combined to produce it : but, after allowing due weight 
to all these forces, the secret of the great revolution 
it wrought is to be found in a revival of the religious 
spirit. It had been quietly gathering momentum for 



four centuries. The rediscovery of the gospel and 
the Christ who gave it through multiphed translations 
of the Scriptures long current among the common 
people, the cultivation of the spirit of piety by dis- 
senters, monks, and mystics, and the awakening of 
the modern conscience produced a powerful revulsion 
against the government, and the worship and the doc- 
trines of the church of Rome. It was a spiritual revo- 
lution and, like all revolutions, it swept on by its own 
inherent force and wrought such results as astonished, 
and even alarmed, the very men who were at its head. 
Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Cranmer, Calvin, Knox 
helped to make the Reformation, but even more they 
were made by it. They and their many fellow-laborers 
who organized it and gave it equipment for active 
resistance to the church of Rome secured a relative 
permanence to the forms which it then assumed, but 
it is now clear that in so doing they overlooked or 
even suppressed many of its most important elements. 
The Reformation as a religious movement was not 
produced by theologians and statesmen but by the 
idealist prophets and preachers who awakened the 
spiritual aptitudes of the people and stirred their wills 
to action. Such men were full of zeal, but they lacked 
the worldly wisdom that knows how to use human 
preferences and even selfishness in the interest of a 
higher end. In their very spirituality lay the chief 
danger to the cause they served. For the church of 
Rome, though somewhat inert at the time, was sure 
to arouse herself in time to crush the new movement 


unless it were supported from without. Moreover, 
radicalism was as much of a bugbear then as it is now, 
and radicals were plentiful in the days of the Reforma- 
tion. Officialism was suspicious of the new movement 
as officialism always is of things new. The "govern- 
ing classes" thought they discerned in it a kinship 
with certain social revolts that had often threatened 
the stability of existing authorities, and they were 
unwilling to countenance it except in so far as they 
saw in it a means of strengthening their own opposi- 
tion to the claims of Rome. When the Reformers 
looked to them for support it was inevitable that the 
religious principles of the Reformation should be 

In every country where the Reformation was 
finally established it was done by means of the sup- 
port of the state but it had to take such a form as the 
state was willing to tolerate, namely, a modified Ca- 
tholicism. This is true in respect to ecclesiastical or- 
ganization and ritual and not less in respect to doctrine. 

A glance at the creeds and confessions of faith put 
forth by the churches of the Reformation is sufficient 
to convince anyone of the importance attached to doc- 

• trinal statement by the Protestant parties. That 
correct doctrine is traditionally a matter of greater 
importance to Protestantism than to Catholicism needs 

• no proof. To the latter, doctrine is indeed a matter 
of great concern, but it stands in a tributary relation 

• to the higher interest, that of the church. To the 
Protestant truth is of supreme value. Its worth is 


in itself. The force of the Protestant polemic against 
the Roman church lay in its recognition of the abso- 
lute value of truth and righteousness in contrast with 
the shifty use of doctrine and ethics by Rome. The 
vigor of Protestantism is owing in no small degree 
to the profound conviction that salvation is dependent 
on the belief of true doctrine, but at the same time 
we are bound to say that its bigotry and intolerance 
are partly traceable to the same root. Under the cir- 
cumstances it was natural that every Protestant state 
should have its formal creed and that an acceptance 
of it should be enforced on all its citizens. 

The true significance of the Protestant confessions 
is not to be apprehended apart from a comparison with 
the doctrines of the Catholic church on the one hand, 
and the views of the radicals, the Anabaptists, on 
the other. The additions made to the Catholic doc- 
trines are rather meager. The substance, and some- 
times the very statements, of the ancient Catholic 
creed, as set forth in the so-called Apostles' Creed, 
the Nicene Symbol, and the Chalcedonian Formula, 
are reaffirmed with vigor and their force is revived. 
Not only were the doctrines of the Trinity and the 
duality of natures in the person of Christ maintained 
against the Mariolatry and saint-worship of the Roman 
church, but they were used as the foundation of the 
doctrines of atonement and justification by faith. 
Thus the doctrines of the ancient Catholic church be- 
came the base of the attack upon the teachings and 
practices of the mediaeval church. These doctrines 



were supported by references to the best of the earher 
CathoHc theologians and were drawn from the Scrip- 
tures of the Old and New Testaments by the methods 
of exegesis then in vogue. The whole Protestant doc- 
trinal movement bore the appearance of a protest in 
the interest of conservatism against the corruptions 
of the early faith by the Roman church. All the more, 
therefore, was it necessary to take up a firm and un- 
compromising attitude toward the innovations of the 

^ Still more important, perhaps, was the Catholic 
habit of mind which was carried over into Protestant 

i theology. The idea that Christianity is at bottom 
doctrine, that revelation consists in the external com- 
munication of doctrine, that it reposes on authority 
and miraculous attestation, that the Scriptures are an 
authoritative (the Protestants said, the only authori- 
tative) legislation in matters of belief and practice; 
all these, as well as the method and the world-view 
of Catholic theologians, were taken over into Potes- 
tant orthodoxy. In saying this we do not aim to 
minimize the achievements of the early Protestant 
thinkers or the spiritual value of the great movement 
which they carried out. In their exegesis of Scripture 
they were greatly superior to their Catholic opponents ; 
and in the deliverance of multitudes from moral thral- 
dom by their impressive preaching of the atonement 
of Christ and the free justification of believers they 
were the ministers of a service of unspeakable worth 
to mankind; their devotion to their cause was of the 


heroic type; and yet the consciousness of the debt we 
owe to them must not blind us to the fact that much 
of their theological thinking was unmistakably of the 
Catholic type. 


Their hatred of Romanism was not less marked 
than their dread of the radicals who were grouped 
together under the common appellation of Anabaptists. 
The opposition between them and the radicals shaded 
from a moderate difference of views of doctrine to 
the bitterest antagonism. They were as unsparing in 
their denunciation of the Anabaptists and as ready to 
subject them to imprisonment and death as were the 
Roman Catholics. Whether or not their fury may 
have been embittered by the latent feeling that the 
Anabaptists were carrying out their own principles 
to a logical conclusion we may not be sure, but it is 
clear that many of the Anabaptist contentions have 
been widely accepted by Protestant theologians in re- 
cent times. The term Anabaptist was given to these 
people by their opponents because they "rebaptized" 
those who came to them from the Catholic and Protes- 
tant churches. It covered bodies of "heretics" ex- 
tremely diverse in character and opinions but at one 
in their belief of the worthlessness of the Catholic 
baptism. When we remember that Catholics uni- 
versally, and Protestants generally, admitted that re- 
generation was effected in baptism and that the Prot- 
estants did not deny the validity of the Catholic 


baptism, we can understand how both of them saw 
in Anabaptism a radical rejection of the whole tradi- 
tional system. 

This is the point of chief importance. For whether 
these people were mystics — such as Caspar Schwenk- 
feldt, the precursor of Quakerism — w^ho subordinated 
the "outer word" of the Scriptures to the "inner word" 
of the heart; or children of the Renaissance — such as 
the Socini, the precursors of the eighteenth-century 
Rationalism — who emphasized the intellectual side of 
religion and rejected all mysticism; or men of the 
central group — such as Balthazar Hubmaier and his 
followers, the forerunners of the modern Baptists — 
who united with the recognition of the inwardness of 
true religion as a heart-experience a deep reverence for 
the Scriptures, especially the New Testament : their 
common rejection of infant baptism carried with it 
the renunciation of the whole Catholic system and, 
of course, that portion of it which was retained as 
authoritative by the Protestants. This was the head 
and front of their offending. Their demands were for 
a complete abandonment of Catholicism and a reinsti- 
tution of the churches of the primitive Christian times. 
Inasmuch as all the states of western Europe were pro- 
fessedly Christian, the Catholic baptism having been 
accepted everywhere, the radicalism of the Anabaptists 
was somewhat naturally interpreted as involving the 
disruption of all existing Christian governments. Nay, 
by their insistence on the prerogative of the individual, 
they often appeared to others in the light of anarchists. 


We see, therefore, that the practice of rebaptism 
which gave the Anabaptists their name was in itself 
a comparatively unimportant thing with them; its 
importance lies in its signification of deeper things. 
They held to the prerogative of the individual with 
God; the immediacy of the relation of the soul to 
God; the apprehension and ministration of the Chris- 
tian gospel by the common man ; personal obedience as 
the essence of Christian faith; Christian churches as 
free associations on the basis of a common spiritual 
experience; the spiritual equality and freedom of all 
believers. The practical issue of these views was the 
rejection of the entire Catholic conception of the 
church — apostolic succession a worthless figment, 
priestly mediation a vain pretense, the sacraments im- 
potent and useless. Along with these went the nega- 
tion of the church's authority, of the blindingness of 
its creed or its canon of Scripture, and of its right to 
call in the secular arm to support its teachings. It 
is plain that the Anabaptist principles were opposed 
not only to the Catholic church but to the program 
of the Reformers as well, and that they could be tol- 
erated as little by one as by the other. In consequence 
these people were ruthlessly suppressed by both of 
these opposing parties and were finally almost exter- 
minated. And yet, I have no doubt, they were the 
nearest representatives of the revived religious spirit 
that made the Reformation a possibility, and in the end 
Protestantism had to pay a heavy penalty for their 


Instead, then, of a radical reconstruction of the 
forms of Christian self-expression we see in Protes- 
tantism, as then established, a conservative reform. 
The idea of the Catholic church was retained, separa- 
tism was condemned, and the one church was suppos- 
edly continued in the various Protestant state churches. 
The church's sacraments were still maintained as neces- 
sary to salvation but they were reduced to two in num- 
ber. Submission to external authority in religion was 
compulsorily enforced with respect both to creed and 
ritual. The Catholic canon of Scripture was adopted 
and exalted above the authority of the church that 
made it. 

Established Protestantism was a compromise. It 
represents an inconsistent combination of Catholicism 
with Christian radicalism. In nothing is this more 
evident than with respect to doctrine. The conscious- 
ness of the immediacy of human relationships with 
God, of the spiritual character of that relationship, 
and of the freedom that springs from it, was the mov- 
ing impulse of the Reformation, but it was fettered 
by being bound to creeds that reposed on outworn 
scientific, philosophical, and ecclesiastical assumptions. 
Time brought the inevitable nemesis. The course of 
events by which the Protestant systems, and particu- 
larly the doctrinal systems, were undermined cannot 
be described here at length; the main facts alone can 
be mentioned. 



• The identification of formal doctrine with Chris- 

• tian faith soon bore its natural fruit. The warm evan- 
gelicism of the early days of the Reformation gave 
place to theological controversy that was mostly bar- 
ren of good. The effort to reach a minute determina- 
tion of the limits of truth led to theological hair- 
splitting and fruitless logomachies that threatened to 
tear both the Lutheran and the Calvinist churches to 
pieces. Controversies over the relation of faith to 
good works and of justification to sanctification, free 
will and the irresistibility of grace, election and rep- 
robation, the nature and efficacy of the sacraments, 
have left their monuments in such documents as the 
Formula of Concord, the Lambeth Articles, and the 
Articles of the Synod of Dort. Lutheranism degen- 
erated into Antinomianism, Arminianism sprang up 
as a reaction against Calvinism, while Socinianism 
alarmed orthodoxy in general. For generations the 
bitter strife went on. The evil condition of the 
churches was aggravated by the connection of church 
and state. Theological terms became the watchwords 
of political parties, and political discord was intensi- 
fied by religious strife. We have only to recall the 
legislation in England against non-conformity and 
dissent from the time of Elizabeth to James II — and 
it was by no means a dead letter — and the civil wars 
of the Stuart days in order to understand the demoral- 
izing effect of the Protestant establishment of religion 
by law. The attempt to make the boundaries of the 


church coextensive with the state was blighting, not 
merely in that it subjected ecclesiastical offices to 
party exigencies, but it became a serious bar to mis- 
sionary effort abroad. While Catholic missions to the 
heathen were stretching over vast regions, Protestant 
foreign missions were virtually non-existent for three 
hundred years. The very assumption that all the in- 
habitants of a country, having been baptized, were 
regenerated, benumbed the spirit of piety. Protestant- 
ism enjoyed a good measure of success politically, 
but judged by religious standards it must be pro- 
nounced at that time largely a failure. 


We are here concerned mostly with the under- 
mining of Protestant orthodoxy through the operation 
of forces resident within itself. Protestantism was, 
in part, an affirmation of the right of the human mind 
to freedom of thought. Its main polemic was natu- 
rally directed against the usurped authority of the 
Roman church and the papacy, but it was equally op- 
posed in principle to many ideas and usages which 
it had inherited from the distant past but which were 
not discontinued by its leaders. It owes its very ex- 
istence to the sense of the imperishable worth of the 
individual human spirit and its unimpeachable freedom 
of action. It was natural that the Reformation should 
let loose the pent-up energies of the western Euro- 
pean mind. The buoyant consciousness of freedom 
that led men to explore new realms of earth and sky 


and to defy traditional ideas of geography and as- 
tronomy need not be expected to bow in submission 
to inherited ideas of rehgion. To bring to the bar 
of reason all the claims of church, creed, and scrip- 
ture was more than a privilege — it was a duty. 

An inkling of what was in store for orthodoxy was 
given by the Socinians. Developing Calvin's view 
of the capacity of the human mind to discover the 
natural truths of religion for itself and denying the 
original depravity which he charged with vitiating 
the natural processes of the mind in matters of moral- 
ity and religion, they proceeded to prove in a ration- 
alistic way the divine origin of the Scriptures, with 
special emphasis on the New Testament, and went on 
to disprove the orthodox teachings as to the Trinity, 
the essential deity of Christ, foreordination, penal 
atonement, and the saving efficacy of the sacraments. 
Socinianism spread far in England and Germany and 
its influence was much felt as late as the eighteenth 
century. But it was superficial. The strength of the 
attack that shook the foundations of accepted doc- 
trine came from developments in science and phi- 
losophy that were native to Protestantism and that 
continue in force to the present day, but with greatly 
augmented power. 

Two realms of exploration here call for special 
attention. Protestantism stands for the worth fulness 
and the sanctity of the natural. Nature may therefore 
be interrogated and may be trusted to reveal faith- 
fully her secrets. The human mind may also be 


trusted not to mislead us if we attend to its natural 
processes. Both of these regions invited new explora- 
tion. The truth about Nature was to be found in 
Nature and the truth about the human mind was to 
be found in the human mind. Nay, since these are 
open to all mankind, might it not be that the basic 
truth of all truth was to be found there? The facts 
of objective nature and the facts of inner experience 
promised great rewards to the unprejudiced student. 
Might not "natural science" and "mental science," 
rather than external miraculous communications, be 
trusted to yield us the truth about the world and man? 
a) Bacon and Locke. — With the publication of 
Lord Francis Bacon's Novum Organum and John 
Locke's Essay concerning the Human Understanding 
there began in England a new movement that cul- 
minated in the attempt to bring the whole complex, 
of facts in the universe within a unitary system of 
(natural) laws. The significant thing about both was 
the method. Bacon's work was aimed at displacing 
the traditional method of reaching objective knowledge 
by the acceptance of universal principles and the use 
of the syllogism, in favor of the method of induction 
by observation and experience. The product of the 
method as applied to the facts of Nature was a natural 
philosophy and a natural theology which a religious 
mind like Bacon's found to be the noblest utterance 
of the universe. Bacon's regard for Christianity as 
a revealed religion led him to an acknowledgment of 
a "supernatural theology" to which he assigned a 


separate realm and a different set of forces. If from 
this point we glance forward a hundred years to the 
time of the great Isaac Newton we shall see that with 
the establishment of his Principia the whole of man's 
being was regarded as under the control of natural 
laws and Nature itself as the revelation of the Su- 
preme Being. The grandeur of this conception pro- 
foundly impressed noble minds like Newton and 
inspired much of the best thought and the finest 
preaching of the eighteenth century in England. The 
tendency, however, was to discredit the value and the 
claims of special revelation. 

The purpose of Locke's philosophical inquiry was 
to test the validity of our ideas by an examination of 
the manner in which we come into possession of them. 
The reality of our knowledge was to be decided by a 
critical examination of the knowing process. The 
individual mind was the realm of exploration and 
the means of discovery was introspection. Locke 
found that all our ideas arise originally or by combina- 
tion from impression and reflection. This is the 
simple source of all those so-called "innate ideas," such 
as God and the World, on which the older philosophers 
and theologians had relied for the demonstration of 
their fundamental beliefs. Like Bacon, Locke sought 
to limit the application of his philosophy in the case 
of Christianity. He claimed that faith is distinct from 
reason and that in addition to natural propositions 
there are also supernatural propositions that supply 
truth for faith, and yet he held that all professed reve- 


lations are to be tested by the canons of reason. His 
words in this connection are worth quoting : 

Reason is natural revelation whereby the eternal Father of 
light and fountain of all knowledge communicates to mankind 
that portion of truth which he has laid within reach of their 
natural faculties ; revelation is natural reason enlarged by a 
new set of discoveries communicated by God immediately, which 
reason vouches the truth of, by the testimony and proofs it 
gives that they come from God. 

He identified this supernatural rehgion with true 
Christianity and urged that the original Christianity 
was in harmony with natural religion. In this way 
Locke supplied to both the assailants and the defenders 
of orthodoxy their weapons. 

b) Deists and Apologists. — Some of the results 
of the investigations of these great thinkers were very 
different from what they had intended. The supreme 
reverence for the Christian religion that had prevented 
men like Bacon and Locke from drawing from their 
premises conclusions detrimental to Christian faith 
appears in lessening degree in the long line of their 
inferior successors, till in the later deists it entirely 
• disappeared. The earlier deists, beginning with Lord 
Herbert of Cherbury, extolled the worth of "natural 
religion" and sought to identify the true Christianity 
with it, whereas in the course of the struggle the two 
came to be opposed. Here was the opportunity for 
the friends of Christianity to institute a frank inquiry 
into its essence, but unfortunately, discussion turned 
rather on the evidences of Christianity and the outcome 
of the long controversy was mostly negative. 


The apologists for the accepted forms of Christian- 
ity were much to blame for this result. They sub- 
scribed to natural religion on what seemed to them 
rational grounds, but when they sought to show that 
natural religion had been supplemented by supernatural 
revelation they were driven to say that the existence 
of sin had rendered natural religion insufficient for 
human need. This meant that revelation, as they un- 
derstood it, was contingent on human conduct, which 
was tantamount to saying that it rested on an inferior 
basis. Then to prove that supplementary revelation 
had really been given they were forced to rely on the 
evidence of miracle (non-natural occurrence) and 
prophecy (non-natural knowledge), prediction. They 
were driven to try to prove the genuineness of the 
miracles and predictions in the Scriptures, which, in 
the state of knowledge at the time, they were as little 
capable of doing as their opponents were of the con- 
trary. There was little more than mere assertion on 
the one side, answered by little more than mere denial, 
often accompanied by ridicule, on the other. The 
degeneration of the character of the controversies can 
be traced in the gradually lowered tone of the deisti- 
cal attacks. There was a good deal of buffoonery 
and ribaldry on both sides. The later deists did not 
hesitate to ascribe the miracles, predictions, and insti- 
tutions peculiar to Judaism or Christianity to super- 
stition, fanaticism, or the scheming of interested 
priests. The issue of Deism is seen at its worst in 
France, where no warm evangelical piety appeared to 


put to shame the scoffing of Voltaire or the coarse 
materiahsm of De la Mettrie and Denis Diderot. 

The works of the deists were widely circulated in 
England and Germany and even in America. They 
were in accord with the prevailing temper of the times 
and the impression they made may be gauged by the 
efforts made to meet their arguments. It seems as if al- 
most all the orthodox divines were drawn into the con- 
troversy. Toland's Christianity not Mysterious is said 
to have called forth one hundred and fifteen replies. 
Among the many famous names that may be mentioned 
are Samuel Clarke, Nathaniel Lardner, Bishop George 
Berkeley, William Warburton, John Leland, and Joseph 
Butler, bishop of Durham. The last of these is com- 
monly regarded as the greatest of the English apolo- 
gists and his Analogy of Natural and Revealed Religion 
is regarded as a masterpiece. I do not find in it any- 
thing that had not been said by earlier apologists, but 
the succinctness and clearness of statement and the 
carefulness and orderly manner with which his argu- 
ments are marshaled have been rarely equaled. It is 
fair to treat this famous work as a summary of the 
whole discussion from the orthodox standpoint. 

Natural and revealed religion are made mutually 
complementary. They differ in the mode of their 
communication of truth and partly also in their con- 
tent. The study of Nature leads to the belief in the 
existence of God, rewards for well-doing and punish- 
ments for ill-doing, and a future life. While these 
beliefs cannot be established absolutely for our human 


minds but rest on a high degree of probabihty, they 
afford none the less a sufficient basis for moral obedi- 
ence. But the truths of natural religion have been 
obscured and corrupted through moral error. Hence 
the need of a restatement of them that is accompanied 
by such external attestations as shall establish in the 
human mind a confidence in them. By this means also 
the corruptions of natural religion that have accrued 
in the course of human history are removed. This 
is what is accomplished by those extraordinary divine 
communications we call revelations. Christianity is 
this revealed religion and its truth is attested by 
miracle and prophecy. But while Christianity is thus 
a republication of the religion of Nature, it is more. 
It brings to men new truths, for example, the doc- 
trines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, with the 
implicated human obligations. The rejection of these 
truths of divine revelation involves a disregard of the 
implicated obligations and, consequently, belief in them 
is necessary in order to a truly moral character. The 
lack of absolute certainty in the case of revealed re- 
ligion detracts no more from its value than the same 
lack does in the case of natural religion. The certainty 
is a moral certainty and involves moral obligation. 
As for any antecedent doubt touching the reality of 
prophecy and miracle, it is no greater than that which 
relates to any other definite fact before it is known. 
Thus revealed religion stands on as safe a basis as 
natural religion. Butler's statutory view of the Chris- 
tian religion was the view commonly held; it is a 


Protestant inheritance from Catholicism and it partly 
accounts for the weakness of the orthodox defense. 

The apologists did not succeed in turning the tide 
that was running against the traditional views. But- 
ler's lament in the opening sentences of his Analogy — 

It is come, I know not how, to be taken for granted, by many 
persons, that Christianity is not so much a subject of inquiry, 
as that it is now, at length, discovered to be fictitious, and ac- 
cordingly they treat it, as if, in the present age, this was an 
agreed point among all people of discernment; and nothing re- 
mained, but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and 
ridicule, as it were by way of reprisals, for having so long inter- 
rupted the pleasures of the world — 

is a humiliating admission of the orthodox failure to 
command the confidence of the times and at the same 
time points to the need of deliverance from another 
quarter. (Thank God! the deliverance came in due 
time. It will be spoken of presently.) It was not that 
the opponents of orthodoxy were abler thinkers or 
better scholars than its advocates. The opposite was 
mostly the case. But the spirit of the times had run 
on in advance of the accepted canons of theological 
thought. Theologians were repeating the mistake 
of Catholic apologists of an earlier time — trying to 
bind the growing thoughts of men to the formulae 
that satisfied the spiritual demands of an earlier age 
but obscured the very truths they were intended to 
preserve when used as an established rule of faith. 
The apologists had not only failed to sustain confi- 
dence in those great doctrines which the Protestant 
creeds expressed, but the attempt to maintain them by 


means of external evidences had fostered disbelief in 
revelation itself. And no wonder! The defenders 
of orthodoxy stood on the ground of their opponents. 
They gave to natural religion the primacy — there were 
some exceptions among them — and made revealed 
religion to rest upon it. According to both parties 
religion reposed ultimately on an intellectual basis. 
Its content was doctrine. In consequence revelation 
was conceived as the external communication of truths 
to be believed and faith was assent. They were also 
handicapped by a false view of history and a false 
method of studying it. To justify their contention 
that revelation was necessary in order to republish 
and re-establish the corrupted truths of natural re- 
ligion they had to represent the course of earlier 
history as a gradual corruption of pure religion and 
morality — an inheritance from Calvinism. They had 
to subject the facts of history to dogmatical neces- 
sities. Through their statutory view of religion they 
were led to a legalistic treatment of the Old and New 
Testaments, whose accuracy on all subjects touched 
by those Scriptures they felt called upon to defend. 
For this their opponents punished them severely. The 
great need of the time was not a new apology so much 
as a renewed Christianity, a new experience of religion 
that should produce a new view of its nature. 

The long controversy was by no means altogether 
in vain. Beginnings were made in modern textual 
criticism of the New Testament and in the recognition 
of a distinction between the literal accuracy of the 


Scriptures and their religious worth. Much light was 
thrown upon Old Testament prophecies and improved 
methods of exegesis began to appear. The appeal to 
the course of history prepared the way for historical 
criticism and the great achievements of a later time 
in the field of the history of religions. 

c) David Hume. — The chaotic state of religious 
thought in Great Britain at the time is reflected in the 
writings of the famous philosopher David Hume. 
Hume is often spoken of as a deist. He is better de- 
scribed as a skeptic, I think, an unwilling skeptic. 

Hume developed the philosophical principles of 
Locke to their natural conclusions. Locke had traced 
impressions and ideas to two corresponding substances, 
a material substance and a spiritual substance. Bishop 
Berkeley had shown the untenability of material sub- 
stance on these principles, and now Hume drew the 
same conclusion in reference to spiritual substance. 
The principle of causation through which substances 
had been posited as the sources of our ideas is dis- 
covered to be no impression at all to which something 
real could be said to correspond, but only a lively idea 
of the recurrence of certain phenomena which we are 
in the habit of perceiving in attendance on certain 
other phenomena. It is only a belief. This is all the 
justification we have for arguing from an idea to its 
cause and the only necessity that exists in the con- 
nection between cause and effect is a propensity of 
the mind. Hence our ideas give us no knowledge of 


their causes beyond themselves. Accordingly there 
can be no proof of the existence or the attributes of 
God. All we have is a mere belief, a lively feeling. 

Hume's philosophy was fatal to "natural theology" 
and sounded the death-knell of philosophical deism. 
But not satisfied with this, he proceeded to attack the 
belief in miracles on the ground that a miracle would 
be in conflict with unalterable experience. The testi- 
mony to the actuality of miraculous occurrences is set 
aside with the affirmation that it must give way before 
the broader testimony of a firm experience. No sys- 
tem of religion, he concludes, can repose on the evi- 
dence of miracles. 

He next proceeded to demolish the prevailing 
views of the origin and history of religion. So far 
from arising from the activity of reason it sprang 
from the human emotions of hope, fear, and the like. 
The course of religion was the inverse of what it was 
commonly supposed to be — not from an original purity 
by corruption to lower forms, but from the lower and 
grosser polytheistic forms to the higher forms. Re- 
nouncing the current theology, whether orthodox or 
deistic, he declared that, "our most holy religion is 
founded on faith, not on reason." 

Here was a bold challenge to Protestant thinkers 
to furnish a theoretical basis of confidence in morality 
and religion. Kant took up the task of answering 
the former part of the challenge and Schleiermacher 
the latter. Before explaining their apprehension of 
the allotted task we must turn our attention for a 


short time to the concurrent philosophical and theo- 
logical development on the continent. 


Our opinion that the discredit into which the tra- 
ditional beliefs had fallen in England was owing to 
influences that are native to Protestantism is confirmed 
by an examination of contemporary thought in Hol- 
land and Germany. There, too, Protestantism had 
accorded to reason an unimpeachable right in things 
natural, while also revealed religion was distinguished 
from natural religion. There was a similar account 
to that given in England of their origin, and revela- 
tion was similarly discredited. We find on the other 
hand less of keen analysis but more of speculation than 
in England. 

In Holland the republican spirit favored a tolerance 
of dissent, and though a strict Calvinism triumphed 
at the Synod of Dort and stern measures of repres- 
sion were sometimes employed, nevertheless the tend- 
ency to liberal thinking could not be repressed. 
Arminianism spread, the Mennonites and Baptists 
managed to live, and great thinkers like Hugo Grotius, 
Professor Coccejus of Leyden, and George Calixtus 
toned down the prevalent Calvinism. The first opposed 
the doctrine of penal atonement, the second rejected 
the doctrine of decrees and advocated such an exegesis 
of the New Testament as would bring out its peculiar 
spirit, the third sought to relate Christianity favorably 
to current culture and to emphasize the great central 


verities rather than the strict terms of the creeds. Their 
influence was far- felt. 

Greater in importance were the philosophical specu- 
lations of the philosophers Rene Descartes and Baruch 
Spinoza. The former sought to satisfy the Protestant 
quest for certainty by an appeal to the individual self- 
consciousness, all external authority being rejected. 
All possible doubt is justified as a means of arriving 
at certainty. But whatever else I may doubt I cannot 
doubt that I think. Self-conscious thought becomes 
the basis of all certainty. In my thinking I am aware 
of my own existence. I am thus the (mathematical) 
cause of my thought. From the idea of God he argues 
to the certainty of the existence of God as the neces- 
sary cause of the idea. God is self-caused. He alone 
is substance; mind and matter become substance in 
only a secondary sense. Their phenomena are, re- 
spectively, modes of thought and modes of extension. 
Mind and matter have their nexus in God, the final 
substance. Spinoza developed this last idea. The 
infinite substance necessarily differentiates itself in an 
infinity of modes (finite existences) which again are 
ultimately resolved back into their original. The 
world thus becomes the necessary but fluent expression 
of the attributes of God. The infinity of attributes 
can find expression fully only in an infinity of worlds. 
We err when we attribute reality to our own or the 
world's existence. God alone is real. The conse- 
quences for morality and religion are evident. Human 


responsibility disappears. All personal qualities of 
God are negated. 

This attempt to explain all existence by the neces- 
sary forms of thought inaugurated the philosophical 
movement which is known as the Aufkldrung ("lUu- 
minism"). It was more constructive than the parallel 
movement in England. The explanation of all things 
was sought in the canons of reason. The conceptions 
of substance, attribute, cause, mode, etc., were the 
implements of discussion. Efforts w^ere made to retain 
a portion of the territory of the super-rational but 
its boundaries were continually narrowed and it dis- 
appeared at last. Leibnitz developed the conception 
of substance in an unexpected direction. Instead of 
one all-embracing substance he posited an infinity of 
substances, mutually reflective, of which the one per- 
fect substance is God, mirroring perfectly all the 
others. The knowledge of God, which is the same 
as knowledge with God, God's knowledge, is love, 
religion. Reason and religion coincide as far as the 
former goes. 

This incentive to develop the whole body of re- 
ligious truths by a process of rational demonstration 
was carried out by Christian Wolfif and his successors 
of the Aufkldrung. Man was ultimately made the 
measure of all things and only those doctrines were 
received as true which were essential to man's well- 
being. The Aufkliirung resembled the deistical move- 
ment in England, but it was superior to the latter, 
especially in its positive regard for religion and its 



more earnest effort to understand Christianity by 
a study of its history and a critical examination of 
its early documents. Reimarus, Wettstein, Ernesti, 
Michaelis, Griesbach, Eichhorn, Semler, are the great 
names in this connection. Textual and historical criti- 
cism discovered many errors, the human motives and 
historical circumstances that influenced and composi- 
tion of the biblical books were investigated, and the 
statutory character of the Scriptures was disproved. 
But along with these somewhat negative results there 
was an impulse given to grammatico-historical exege- 
sis; the peculiarly religious character of the Scrip- 
tures and their supreme value for the religious spirit 
were brought to light. This could not fail to be the 
case in the end. 

The famous Gotthold Ephraim Lessing inaugu- 
rated a more positive study of Christianity as the re- 
ligion of revelation. By insisting that Christianity 
precedes the New Testament and is greater than the 
documents that represent it he maintained the com- 
patibility of faith in it with a free critical judgment 
of its documentary sources. He presented a philoso- 
phy of revelation that recognized in it a method of the 
divine education of the human race and assigned to 
it a positive relation to human culture and civilization 
— a lesson that Christians have been slow to learn : 
Revelation is a divine mode of education. It may an- 
ticipate the discoveries of reason but gives nothing 
that could not ultimately be attained by reason. Though 
Lessing himself remained at bottom a rationalist, he 


made an important contribution to the religious thought 
of his times by insisting upon a distinction between 
the religious feeling of the books of the Bible and 
the temporary forms in which it is conveyed to us. 
Gottfried Herder followed this clue further and taught 
men to appreciate the peculiar Hebrew feeling of the 
biblical writers. He pressed home the thought that 
religion is not knowledge but an inward conviction, 
an awareness of the divine operating in our hearts 
and identical with true humanity everywhere. Here 
we find ourselves at length in the company of Schleier- 


Our brief survey of the course of rationalism will 
be brought to a close with a few words on the bearing 
of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant on the questions 
at issue. As Hume's philosophy signalizes the de- 
struction of the English deism of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, so Kant's Critique of the Pure 
Reason marks the end of the old German rationalism 
and introduces a new era in philosophy. Its effect 
on the course of theology is equally marked, even to 
the present time. The aim of Kant was positive — to 
lay a foundation for morality and also of religion. 
His critique was concerned, not directly with the 
various systems of philosophy and theology that rea- 
son had striven to establish, but with the rational 
faculty itself. He finds that, while the sense-material 
which is embraced in our knowledge is derived from 
external impressions, the thought- forms by which it 


is built into perceptions and finally into a world of 
knowledge are supplied directly by the mind itself. 
This is true even of the idea of cause. Hence the 
validity of our knowledge of the phenomenal world. 
But when thought- forms are divorced from this sense- 
material, and the pure reason uses these bare abstract 
ideas to build up a system of supersensible knowledge, 
and then goes on to predicate reality of the noumenal 
world which it finds back of the phenomenal world, 
it indulges in a specious fallacy. The airy structures 
of mere speculation are valid only for thought. Kant 
sees the laboriously constructed systems of speculative 
philosophy and theology fall into ruins at his feet. 
"Rational theology" or "natural theology" is destroyed. 

At the same time the orthodox theology was also 
undermined, since it also professed to supply informa- 
tion concerning the supernatural or the super-rational 
world. The arguments for the existence of God and 
the other> objects of religious belief are discovered 
to be fallacious if they are interpreted as giving in- 
formation concerning matters of fact. The arguments 
for the reality of a revelation based on miracles and 
prophecy also fail for the same reason, and theoretical 
agnosticism in regard to these things takes their place. 

But when we turn to his Critique of the Practical 
Reason a different result appears. What Kant takes 
away with the left hand he gives back with the right. 
He finds that the mind is self-legislative in matters of 
conduct. There is an unexceptionable law, a "cate- 
gorical imperative," an all-embracing ought, without 


u'hich human conduct would be unmeaning. The au- 
thority of this law depends not on some external super- 
natural communication, but lies in the very nature of 
the practical reason itself. Given responsibility, and 
freedom is also therewith given. "I ought, therefore 
I can." Rewards and punishments are inevitable. 
God is therewith also given, else the law could not be 
sure of vindication. Immortality follows or else 
justice fails. 

In this way Kant makes a place for religion, such 
a religion as satisfies the demands of morality, a re- 
ligion that depends for its worth on the value of moral 
demands. This is not the place to estimate Kant's 
arguments for religion. Whatever else this religion 
of his may be, it is not a religion of redemption and 
therefore falls short of the Christian religion. The 
importance of Kant's philosophy for our present pur- 
poses lies in the suggestion which his discovery of the 
categorical imperative gave to Schleiemiacher in his 
vindication of religion and his exposition of the nature 
of the Christian faith. 


4 With Hume and Kant a former era of Protestant 
theology comes to an end and a new era shortly begins. 
Let us now briefly sum up the theological situation 
at the time. 

Roman Catholicism trained the peoples of Europe 
to depend, in religious matters, on authority — the au- 
thority of the church. When the Protestant Reforma- 


tion led to a renunciation of that authority by many, 
they were compelled to substitute for it another ground 
of certainty in religious matters. The influence of 
mysticism, of new religious aspiration, and of the new 
intellectual awakening drew in one direction; tradi- 
tional belief and the established methods of theology, 
as well as the instinct of order, drew in another. The 
resultant compromise gave to Protestant theology a 
double basis, the Bible as an external authority in 
some matters, and the individual human reason in 
others. But it was inevitable that a strife should 
arise and that one of these should encroach on the 
domains of the other. The trend of thought gave 
the advantage to the second of these. The intelligi- 
bility of the universe and the competency of the human 
mind to discover its secrets were axioms that seemed 
to promise that the human mind out of its own native 
energy might possess itself ultimately of the whole 
of the truth concerning God and our relations to him 

• which it is necessary to know. Natural theolog}'- was 
to displace revealed theology and to appropriate its 
territory. The attack was first directed against the 
claim that there was need of a special revelation and 

• next against the "evidences" of it. Protestant ortho- 
doxy received a defeat if we may judge by its failure 
to hold the general confidence of the people. 

%• But "natural theology" fell at the same time. The 
work of Hume and Kant showed that its structures 
were flimsy and that its so-called rational theology was 

« a mere cobweb of the human intellect. If reason had 


destroyed revelation it had also apparently destroyed 
itself, at least so far forth as religious knowledge 
is concerned, and if religious knowledge turns out to be 
delusive, what is the good of any knowledge? Kant's 
attempt to save morality from the maelstrom, even if 
successful, could hardly as yet be said to have saved 
religion, unless religion is to be viewed as subsidiary 
to morality. 

Shall we say, then, that the Protestant confi- 
dence in the capacity of the human mind was mis- 
placed? that in religion we must fall back on an 
authority that defies reason, or else admit that there 
can be no religious knoivledgef Or is there a better 
way out of the difficulty? Might it not be that the 
nature of the human mind was too narrowly conceived 
— that the rationalists had erred by regarding it exclu- 
sively as intellect? Might it not be that the orthodox 
had also erred by conceiving religion and revelation 
too narrowly in making out revelation to be informa- 
tion and religion to be the knowledge and belief of it? 
Might there not be a view of religion that would re- 
move it out of the religion of that old, bitter contro- 
» versy? The way to a new apprehension of the whole 
matter was prepared by the great evangelical revival 
of the eighteenth century. 


• The cloud of unbelief that hung over Protestant 
Christian lands was dispelled by the gracious outpour- 
ing of a new spiritual faith in England which has 


continued to send out its beneficent influence into all 
spheres of human activity and promises to spread over 
all the world. The names of the Wesleys and of 
Whitefield are inseparably associated with this re- 
vival, but its source is to be discovered far back. In 
the preceding pages of the present work it is affirmed 
that the religious life that burst out so vigorously in 
Europe during the Reformation was hampered in its 
freedom and narrowed in its operation by its artificial 
connection with civil governments and with ecclesiasti- 
cal and doctrinal forms that were inadequate to express 
its nature. It is not intended by this statement to 
convey the idea that the stream of life had been swal- 
lowed up in the sands. Within the established churches 
there were many notable examples of a vigorous spir- 
ituality superior to the temporary forms that w^ere 
meant to control it. If too commonly the churchman 
was more in evidence than the Christian, we have 
many reasons for believing that in multitudes of in- 
stances the case was the reverse. It is, however, rather 
in the religious societies that sprang up spontaneously, 
in the fellowship of the free churches of Protestantism, 
that we are to look for the natural channels for the 
propagation of the Christian faith. The history of 
religion among Protestants is a study of thrilling in- 
terest. Luther's faith consisted essentially in a firm 
assurance of the gracious relation of God to him in 
Christ as revealed in the gospel. The Anabaptist piety 
was of a similar type. The same deep feeling was 
cherished by many of their successors as the dearest 


possession of their hearts. This was one of the potent 
factors of the Puritan struggle in England on behalf 
of a simple worship and a high morality. It comes 
to vigorous life in Independency, in the Baptist 
churches, and the Quaker societies. It is strikingly 
exhibited in the career of Cromwell who combined 
with it the Israelites' faith in Jehovah. It expresses 
itself in that wonderful creation of his genius, the 
New Model army. It finds beautiful utterance in 
Bunyan's immortal allegory. It is glorified in the suf- 
ferings of the persecuted dissenters and nonconform- 
ists during the degenerate days of the last two Stuart 
kings. But it met with eclipse amid the comparative 
safety and the material prosperity of the times that 

• followed, unti/Moravianism revived it in the work of 
the preachers of the revival. 

§ a) The Pietists. — The story of religion in Ger- 

• many for the same period is not very different. Here 
we see the rise and spread of Pietism. State-churchism 
and formal orthodoxy left religion, like the German land 
at the close of the Thirty Years' War, in a condition 

• of desolation. In those days John Arndt summoned 
men to a living faith that should be marked inwardly 
by an assurance of Christ's indwelling and outwardly 

• by good works. Long afterward Philip Jacob Spener 
heard Arndt's call to a higher life and responded with 
all the warmth of a soul that was remarkably endowed 
by divine grace. He sought to draw men away from 
theological strife and a mere external compliance with 
the forms of religion, by holding informal assemblies 


of the people where the Scriptures were studied with 
a view to edification rather than for doctrinal pur- 
poses; freedom of question and answer was allowed, 
and the spontaneous utterance of prayer and praise 
was encouraged. Laymen and clergymen alike were 
urged to cultivate a devout spirit, holy living, and the 
practice of family prayer. His well-known work, Pia 
Dcsidcria (Pious Desires for a Reform of the True 
Evangelical Church), seems to have given to Pietism 
its name. He found many willing listeners. The de- 
sire for a new reform spread rapidly over most parts 

• of Germany and into other countries. Its influence 
was particularly marked in the universities where 
bands of students began to conduct independent courses 
of biblical studies among themselves. Hundreds and 
even thousands of them became zealous missionaries 

• of the new cause. When the authorities interfered a 
new university was organized at Halle, which forth- 

• with became the headquarters of the movement. We 
remember that Schleiermacher was a student and later 

• a professor there. Many forms of beneficence ap- 
peared, orphanages and Bible societies being the most 
noteworthy. The names of exegetes like Bengel have 
perpetuated the fame of its biblical learning to the 
present. All open opposition was finally overcome and 
Pietism became the dominant element in theological 

• » At this point its failure begins. Success begot 
spiritual self-contentment and finally arrogant intol- 
erance. Its sympathy with humanity in the broad 


fields of enterprise and culture was small throughout, 
and its view of life was narrow. Its connection with 
the state church was a fatal defect. On that account 
it shrank from a reformation of the doctrinal standards 
or the organization of independent bodies of Christians. 
Spener and his followers were careful to guard against 
any tendency toward Separatism. Here was a fatal 
error. Lacking the boldness of Free-churchism in 
England, Pietism fell back into the old forms of Lu- 
theranism and Calvinism and, while the latter received 
from it a valuable spiritual impulse, its reabsorption 
was a loss to the world. The phenomenon of Pietism 
stands as a testimony to the fact that there was a 
spirit in German Protestantism which could find no 
fitting embodiment in the established forms of organi- 
zation and doctrine. 

• b) The Moravians and the Methodists. — When 
Pietism began to wane the smoldering flame of re- 
ligious fervor was already being rekindled by the 
Moravian Brethren. 

• Moravianism was characterized by spontaneity and 
initiative. Puritanic moral conviction, deep emotional 
experience, missionary zeal, and a capacity for organi- 

• zation. Hymn-singing, extempore prayer, and fervent 
utterance were marked features of their meetings. We 
have seen how profoundly these things impressed 
Schleiermacher. In middle life he used to look back 
longingly to their meetings for worship and felt how 
bare and poor was the official service in the German 
church. Their doctrines were in general agreement 


with Protestantism, but the central place was given 
to the person of Jesus, to personal communion with 
him, and to his atonement by death. Charles Wesley's 
hymn, "J^sus, Lover of My Soul," echoes their adora- 
tion of the loving, human-divine Savior. Zinzendorf 
and others went so far in this direction that God the 
Father was almost lost sight of, the Father was dis- 
placed by the Son, and God was said to have died on 
the cross. They did not give to their organization the 
name of a church but called it a society (cf. the early 
Methodists). Yet they were in reality quite independ- 
ent of the state church. John Wesley seems to have 
got the clue to many of his organizations and methods 
from them. They gave an unmistakable impulse to 
the organization of free churches. 

This is not the most important fact in the present 
connection. They were the true founders of the Wes- 
leyan evangelism. To their preachers, Spangenberg 
and Boehler, Wesley owed that assured confidence in 
the inner testimony of the Spirit, which was such a 
mighty force in the Revival and has come to us in our 
day as a factor of indisputable value in the determina- 
tion of Christian truth. Our present confidence in 
the testimony of the Christian consciousness is an in- 
heritance from the Revival. It has come down to us 
from the old Anabaptists through the double channel 
of English and German religionists. 

We need not repeat here the story of the great 
revival — how it spread throughout the British Isles, 



how it crossed over into America, how it flowed back 
Hke a refreshing stream to Germany. Unhappily the 
terrible wars, through which Germany passed in the 
struggles with Austria and France, filled the minds of 
men there with other thoughts. Nevertheless, Ger- 
many shared in the blessing the Revival brought. The 
fruits of the movement are now to be seen in many 
lands. The free churches have been multiplied in 
numbers and power many hundredfold. Missionary 
work in heathen lands, long shamefully neglected by 
Protestants, has come to the chief place in the thoughts 
of Christian leaders; philanthropic agencies have been 
multiplied everywhere ; evils so deeply seated in human 
society that they seemed native to it have been attacked 
with a boldness and persistency that repose on a con- 
fidence in the power of the gospel to renovate social 
life everywhere. 

It may not be possible to describe the fundamental 
nature of this great revival of Christian faith in a 
word. There is, however, one outstanding conviction 
that seems to have wrought itself by means of the Re- 
vival into the fiber of our thinking — the unimpeach- 
able worth of the individual man. We see how nearly 
identical it is with the motive power of the Reforma- 
tion. It is working a like revolution in our thinking. 

The effect on prevailing apprehensions of the nature 
of religion has been immeasurably great. In the first 
place men have come to see that religion is a uni- 
versal, though distinctive phenomenon of human life, 


not to be identified with any of the doctrinal formulae, 
established organizations, or forms of worship for- 
merly regarded as indispensable to it. In the next 
place, it is implicitly admitted to be a matter of indi- 
vidual concern and every man is understood to be 
capable of a conscious enjoyment of it and of an im- 
mediate certainty of its divine character. It is further 
seen to be a matter of experience, and this experience 
has been acknowledged in ever-widening circles to be 
a prerequisite to personal participation in Christian 
activities. And finally, as admittedly a matter of 
inward experience, there has been an increasing recog- 
nition of the value of the emotions in religion. 

The Revival was a restoration, a reinforcement, 
and an enrichment of the religious life that awoke 
to vigor in the early days of the Reformation and that 
had made an ineffectual attempt to find embodiment in 
those days. That life had never obtained a reasoned 
theological expression suited to its nature. If the new 
movement was not to degenerate into fanaticism on the 
one hand or into formalism on the other, then it 
must receive a coherent theoretical expression in doc- 

• trine. In those early religious experiences which 
formed the basis of his whole religious life Schleier- 

%macher was a spiritual child of Moravianism, He 
was the first thinker of note to undertake the task of 
reconstructing the traditional doctrinal system from 

• the standpoint of evangelical religious experience. The 
rejuvenescence of Protestant theology begins with him. 



It has been shown that at the close of the eighteenth 
century the state of theological science was very un- 
satisfactory. The traditional creeds had been under- 
mined and their defenders had propped them up with 
very shaky supports. Deism was itself dying of in- 
anity. In the light of Kant's Critique the great specu- 
lative systems now appeared as castles in the air. 
Kant's own attempt to save belief in the three essen- 
tials of rational theology by making them postulates 
of the practical reason had subordinated religion to 
morality and theology to ethics. Theology was dis- 
credited both as to content and as to method. 

Schleiermacher heard within himself the summons 
to a vindication, first, of religion, and second, of theo- 
logical science. He was peculiarly fitted for the task. 
Though still a young man, he was well acquainted 
with the best ancient and modern works on philosophy. 
His Moravian training had called forth the powers 
of his deep religious nature and left an ineffaceable 
impression on his sensitive and ardent mind. He had 
passed through a period of doubt when rationalism 
swept away the doctrinal beliefs which he once re- 
ceived on authority. He knew that a shallow illu- 
minism had no correspondence with the deepest long- 
ings of the human heart. Romanticism with all its 
dangers was preferable to intellectualism. That the 
canonization of human impulses bad and good, to 
which Romanticism with its aesthetic pride gravitated, 
had led him dangerously near to a confusion of moral 


distinctions we have already seen, but it had also 
helped him to regain and hold fast the assurance of 
the unimpeachable right and dignity of the inner life 
« of the human spirit. The outcome of his reflections 
on the subject appeared in the publication in 1799 of 
his Discourses on Religion to the Educated among Its 

The treatise was timely. It obtained at once a wide 
reading in literary and learned circles. The redundancy 
and floridness of its style make it a little tedious to 
present-day readers, but these qualities were an advan- 
tage to it at the time. Even its obscurities were a 
recommendation to it in contrast with the platitudes of 
the Aufkldrung. Many who read it awoke as from a 
dream. Pastor Harms, a theological opponent of 
Schleiermacher's at a later date, confessed that he sat 
up all night long to finish the book at a single reading. 

• The Discourses proved a turning-point in the study of 
theology. To establish their value it is only necessary 
to refer to the discussions on this work which still con- 
tinue to appear from the pens of German scholars. 

• Schleiermacher aims at laying a foundation for 
theological science by first of all expounding the nature 

• of religion. He finds religion, as Kant had found 
the fundamental moral law, in the human consciousness 
as such — it is a necessary and inalienable constituent 
element of human experience in its highest interpreta- 

• tion. It cannot therefore be a product of thought (it 
is not to be identified with a doctrine or sum of doc- 
trines or to be viewed as the effect of such) ; or of 


moral action (it is not an inference from moral princi- 
ples or a belief involved in the subjection to a universal 
moral law) ; but it is an original human endowment. 
Indeed, in human experience it is antecedent to all 
knowledge and action, for it appears in that rudimen- 
tary consciousness in which the distinction of subject 

#and object, self and not-self, had not yet appeared. In 
this priority religion is exhibited as superior to knowl- 
edge and morality. Here the soul is the subject of the 
action of the universe; it is w'cdded to infinity. 

« The question as to the form of consciousness in 
which religion appears is answered by saying it con- 

« sists in feeling. In the first edition of the Discourses 

Schleiermacher .added "and intuition," but in the 

later editions^ he makes it to consist specifically in 

feeling, thereby weakening its claim to supreme worth, 

though bringing it into closer harmony with his whole 

• system of theology. By feeling he means, of course, 
much more than mere sensation ; it is that sense of one- 
ness with the whole of existence which is peace and 

4 blessedness. It comes into vivid consciousness in those 
deep emotions which are aroused by, or expressed in, 

• elevated discourse or poetry or song. It does not sub- 
mit itself to minute analysis or theological process. It 
is an immediate possession. 

• As for the philosophical explanation of such an 
experience, it is the universe, infinity, expressing itself 

« in the human consciousness. Therefore it occurs in 
and with man's relationship to the world. In one aspect 

'A second edition appeared in 1806, and a third in 1821. 


it may be designated as the human self-consciousness 
itself in its highest interpretation, and in another aspect 
as a function of the universe, the universe coming to 
self-consciousness in man. 

Therefore it pertains to the individual, and at the 
same time to the universal, consciousness. Accordingly 
it may be said that there are as many religions as there 
are men. Each man's religion is his own. It cannot 
be given to or borrowed from another; it cannot be 
imposed on men from without or taken from them ; 
no man's religion is in itself false, for it is not false 
to him. But at the same time it may be said that after 
all there is only one religion, for in its essence religion 
is the same in all though varied in different people 
according to the stage or direction of their develop- 

The undeniable symptoms of a pantheistic trend in 
the Discourses drew upon Schleiermacher much criti- 
cism. For example, his relative Sack, court-preacher, 
accused him of Spinozism and a veiled pantheism. 
But in his reply Schleiermacher vigorously repelled the 
charge. While he had not set forth the doctrine of a 
personal God, he had said nothing against belief in a 
personal God; he had only said that religion did not 
depend on whether, in abstract thought, a man predi- 
cated personality of the supersensuous cause of the 
world or not, and he had mentioned Spinoza as one 
instance. His aim was, in the present storm of philo- 
sophical ideas, to establish the freedom of religion from 
any sort of metaphysics and from dependence on 


morality, but he had no desire to cover any heresy by 
means of a reservatio mentalis.^ 

The defectiveness of this view of religion, notwith- 
standing its warmth and suggestiveness, is apparent. 
It is as far from an apprehensible relation to any his- 
torical religion as Kant's moral ideal is from relation 
to any historical morality. But the author rendered 
an invaluable service to the cause of religion and the- 
ology by exhibiting the originality, freedom, and uni- 
versality of the former and its basic relation to the 

• latter. In this view theology becomes a living and pro- 
gressive science, ever drawing its main impulse from 
the growing religious life of humanity. 

4 At a later time, when Schleiermacher had passed 
beyond the Romantic stage and found himself plunged 
into the great contest with the currents of thought that 
flowed through Germany along with the Napoleonic 
invasions, he aimed to bring his theory of religion into 

closer relation to ecclesiastical and national life. How 
this was done we shall see when we turn to his pres- 
entation of The Christian Faith. 

Schleiermacher saw at once the need of correcting 
the impression that he had little regard for ethics, and 
in the next year (1800) he published his Monologues. 
The theory is complimentary to his view of religion 
and represents the ego in its consciousness of freedom 
spontaneously determining its own inner development 
and striving to represent in its own person the whole 
of society, of the nation, and, ultimately, of humanity. 

" See the whole correspondence in Studien und Kritiken (1834). 



This view reappears in his system of theology where 
the two parallel presentations are unified. 

Among the many works of Schleiemiacher of 
more or less note which appeared before his whole 
system was elaborated, we may mention just one, his 
Outline of Theological Science (Kur::e Darstelhing des 
theologischen Studiimis), 1806, which presents his 
conception of the integration of the whole body of 
theological sciences. Editions of this compact little 
treatise still continue to appear. 
» The crowning work of Schleiermacher's services 
as a theologian is his Glaubenslehre, The Christian 

• Faith. The occasion of its publication was the attempt 
of the Prussian king, Frederick William III, to unite 
the Lutheran and Reformed churches of Prussia in a 
new body, to be known as the Evangelical church. The 
three-hundredth anniversary of the beginnings of the 
Reformation seemed to offer a suitable opportunity 
for such an effort. The weakness of Prussia in the 
earlier part of the struggle with Napoleon had been 
partly a consequence of religious decline and division. 
Religious unity seemed necessary to political unity and 

• strength. Schleiermacher's religious convictions and 
his patriotism combined to make him a supporter of 

• the movement. But he saw the dangers that threat- 
ened the vitality of Protestantism. A strong con- 
servative reaction had set in at the close of the 
Napoleonic wars. Pastor Harms led a party that de- 
manded a return to the older rigid Lutheran orthodoxy. 

• The king himself was not only a rank conservative 


but aimed at bringing the church more directly under 
state (and this meant for him, royal) control. A 
heated controversy arose between conservatives and 
radicals, or Supernaturalists and Rationalists, as they 
t were called. It was at this time (1821) that the first 
edition of The Christian Faith appeared. Hurst^ re- 
marks : "The book was a surprise to all parties. It 
was a stroke of genius destined alike to recast existing 
theology and to create a new public sentiment for the 
future." Schleiermacher, by a broad treatment of the 
great topics of Christian theology, aimed at stemming 
the current running toward a narrow and intolerant 
orthodoxy, and at the same time, by bringing into re- 
lief the religious reality which underlies the different 
confessions of Protestantism, he hoped to deepen the 
consciousness of the unity and worth of the Christian 

• But the purpose of Schleiermacher's work went 
far beyond the needs of a temporary and local crisis. 

• This his greatest achievement obtained a permanent 
place among the world's most notable attempts to 
solve the problems of the inquiring religious spirit, 
because it treated those problems in a spirit which rec- 

t ognized their seriousness and breadth. It was the 
work of a writer who had set himself diligently to 
apprehend the meaning of religion, and especially of 
Christianity, in a universe of things that lay open to 
human experience and investigation; who had held 
his'mind open to receive whatever he might find nour- 

' History of Rationalism, 241. 


ishing to a hungry spirit in all realms of study and the 
philosophies of all schools. 

The task which confronted the genius of Schleier- 
macher may be set forth briefly as follows : to describe 
the inner nature of religion, and particularly of Chris- 
tianity, so as to exhibit its basis in an original human 
enduement and its freedom from dependence, on the 
one hand, on a body of objective knowledge — whether 
that knowledge be externally communicated or be the 
product of rational thought — or on a form of morality, 
on the other hand ; to relate Christianity as a historical 
magnitude to other historical religions so as to bring 
into relief its pre-eminence among the various forms 
of religious faith ; to indicate the place of the religious 
experience in the entire realm of human consciousness 
so as to vindicate the claim that it supplies the highest 
interpretation of the universe; to restate the interpre- 
tations of the Christian faith which have appeared in 
the great historic confessional and creedal symbols so 
as to bring out their religious content, and at the 
same time to clear away those traditional philosophical 
and superstitious excrescences which have obscured 
■ the truth of Christianity; to effectuate the demand 
that no form of doctrine may be admitted to be Chris- 
tian except in so far as it is an expression of the 
Christian religious consciousness — a present conscious 
religious faith ; to furnish to aggressive Protestant 
Christianity an instrument for its advancement, in 
the form of a reasoned systematic statement of its 
own inherent nature. 


Did space permit, we might show how upon a 
foundation of Christian reHgious faith he built the 
product of the rich speculative genius of Plato, the sin- 
consciousness of Paul and Augustine, Luther's and the 
Anabaptists' immediacy of fellowship with God, Cal- 
vin's all-embracing divine purpose, Spinoza's self- 
differentiating substance transmuted into the principle 
of causality, Leibnitz' mirroring of the universe in 
the individual, Lessing's philosophy of the revelation 
which, at the same time, is education, with Kant's 
conviction of the incompetency of pure reason to es- 
tablish religious truth running through it all. How 
all these elements, shot through with the Moravian 
warm love for Jesus Christ and the fellowship of 
grace, were recast in the crucible of Schleiermacher's 
own thinking and were built up into a massive system, 
the following exposition will make an effort to show. 






At the outset of this undertaking it is necessary 
to explain the meaning that is here attached to the 
term dogmatics and to set forth the method and the 
arrangement appropriate to it. For, while Christian 
communions generally make use of dogmatical (doc- 
trinal) statements both in their own internal economy 
and in their intercourse with other religious bodies, 
an examination of the theological writings best known 
among them will discover great diversity and con- 
fusion in the articulation of the different theological 
disciplines and in the application of them to the pur- 
poses of the societies concerned. Of dogmatics this 
is true in an eminent degree. 

The greatest differences in the orderly develop- 
ment of the subject will occur, of course, in those 
works which represent thoroughly different concep- 
tions of dogmatics, but minor differences appear even 
in works which repose on a similar basis. In any 
case the method and order of treatment are best justi- 
fied by results and, in order to the best results, should 
be set forth for the reader at the beginning. 

' The paragraph references are to the corresponding portions of the original 




Dogmatics is a theological discipline. Its sole use 
is to serve the interest of the Christian church. This 
consideration determines for us its peculiar task. Since 
it presupposes the Christian church, a right appre- 
hension of the church in general and of the character 
of the Christian church in particular becomes its basis 
and the touchstone of all that claims a place in it. This 
being the case, we are not obliged, for example, to 
derive a doctrine of God, of man, and of last things 
from universal principles of reason, because these prin- 
ciples have no more relation to the Christian church 
than to any other form of association among men; 
but there are three auxiliary sciences whose aid we do 
need as an introduction to dogmatics : first, ethics, be- 
cause the idea of the church pertains to this realm, 
since it denotes a fellowship or association which 
originates and continues only through free human ac- 
tivities. Second, philosophy of religion, because in de- 
fining the term cJiiirch it is necessary to distinguish 
the essential and permanent elements, subsisting in re- 
ligious communions through all the stages of their 
development, from the individual historical forms in 
which their common principle may temporarily be em- 
bodied, so as to exhibit those elements as constituting 
the entire manifestation of religion in human nature. 



(Compare the philosophy of law as an analogous criti- 
cal discipline.) Third, apologetics, attaching itself to 
the philosophy of religion in order to describe the 
peculiar essence of Christianity and its relations to 
other religious communions. Availing itself of propo- 
sitions borrowed from these sciences, dogmatics then 
proceeds to its own peculiar task, though it is to be 
remembered that the value of the dogmatic does not 
depend on the correctness of the processes or conclu- 
sions adopted in all or any of these three auxiliary 
sciences (§2). 



An ecclesiastical communion is to be distinguished 
from all other associations of men, such as the family, 
the state, the school, in that it is based upon piety, 
religion (Froininigkeit). Religion is an immediate, 
or original, experience of the self-consciousness in 
the form of feeling. It is immediate, in that it is not 
derived from any other experience or exercise of the 
mind, but is inseparable from self-consciousness; and 
it is feeling, in that it is subjective experience and not 
objective idea, and in this respect it is identical with 
the self-consciousness, (a) Religion is not an act of 
knowledge nor the result of a process of knowing. 
If it were the former, its source would lie in human 
activity. If it were the latter, its content would be 
doctrine, dependent upon prior processes of the intel- 
lect, and subject to all the uncertainties which pertain 


to scientific investigation. The measure of knowledge 
would be the measure of piety; religion would be a 
mere acquirement or possession and no essential ele- 
ment of human nature, (b) Neither does religion 
consist in action. This would make it identical with 
morality. But actions which are bad in moral content 
as well as those which are good, proceed from religion. 
The only respect in which an action partakes of a re- 
ligious character is in the motive which prompts it, 
and this, in the last analysis, is feeling. This conclu- 
sion is confirmed by the universal admission that there 
are states of feeling such as regret, contrition, assur- 
ance, joy in God, which are in themselves of a pious 
(or religious) nature apart from all expected results 
in knowledge or action. To make religion consist in 
the end attained would be to identify it with successful 
results, (c) Nor, again, is religion a condition com- 
pounded of knowledge, action, and feeling, for of 
such a fourth state of consciousness we are not aware 
in experience. While feeling is connected with both 
knowledge and action, it is not dependent upon than 
for its religious character, but imparts this to them. 
Religion, then, as 'consisting in feeling, denotes a 
state of our being, and hence in religion man is not 
primarily active but receptive. It must be so, for 
though in all consciousness there is a double element, 
namely, the self-consciousness, or ego, and a deter- 
mination of the self-consciousness, or experience, it is 
impossible that the latter should be produced by the 
former; because the ego is ever self-identical, but ex- 


perience is variable. Nor could we ever have a sepa- 
rate consciousness of the ever-identical self, because 
such a consciousness would be destitute of all deter- 
minateness or of quality; and consequently conscious- 
ness of self is dependent upon experience. But this 
is just to say that all consciousness, our objective 
self-consciousness included, is dependent upon a prior 
influence exerted upon our receptivity. We are com- 
pelled therefore to seek the common source of our 
being and experience in an Other. 

Now, as we actually find ourselves in this world, 
we experience a double relation, a relation of free- 
dom and a relation of dependence, expressing respec-- 
tively spontaneity and receptivity in the same subject. 
As a part of that divided and articulated whole which 
we call the world we stand toward it in a position of • 
reciprocal activity. We affect it and are affected by 
it. And therefore our feeling in relation to the world 
is of relative freedom and relative dependence. But 
yet, while it is impossible for us to have, as a part of 
the world, a feeling of absolute freedom toward it, 
we do have in and with the world, even in the experi- 
ence of freedom toward it, a feeling of absolute de-- 
pendence; and since we have no self-consciousness 
independently of our place in the world-whole, the 
consciousness of absolute dependence for ourselves 
involves the absolute dependence of the whole world.- 
The ground of our being and of the being of the world 
is in a source beyond our being and the being of the 
world. This feeling of absolute dependence is re- 


ligion. In religion we feel ourselves absolutely de- 
pendent upon God. This feeling, as has been already 
pointed out, is immediate. That is to say, in religion ' 
we find ourselves in immediate relation with God. 

But though the term God is here used, it is not 
to be understood that religion avails itself of any idea 
of God previously obtained by information or the- 
ophany. For such an idea of God would be intellectual 
and sensuous and would spring from a source outside 
the religious experience, and therefore no place can be 
assigned to it in a body of Christian doctrine. In 
saying we are in immediate relation with God, 'the 
latter term is used only to designate the Whence of ' 
our spontaneous and receptive life, of which we be- 
come aware in our feeling of absolute dependence. 
This Whence, co-posited in our consciousness, is the 
truly original meaning of the term God. We do not ' 
indeed reason from this feeling to the objective ex- ' 
istence of God, but God is immediately given in the ' 
feeling of absolute dependence. Feeling, self-con- - 
sciousness, properly interpreted, involves the God- " 
consciousness. We do not hereby dispute a supposed 
original knowledge of the existence of God obtained 
in some other way, but we only assert that with such 
knowledge we have nothing to do in Christian doc- 

This feeling of absolute dependence constitutes 
the highest of the three stages of human consciousness : 
the first, the animalistic, prevailing in infancy and 
dreams, in which the antithesis of subject and object 


has not yet arisen because the mental functions are in 
a confused condition; the second, the sensuous, in 
which the antithesis is distinct ; the third, the religious 
consciousness, in which the antithesis between self and 
not-self disappears and all is comprehended as identi- 
cal with the subject. There is no other condition of 
consciousness parallel to this absolute feeling, for in 
all knowledge and action the antithesis of subject and 
object remains. But this highest stage never occurs 
in separation from the second. For being entirely 
simple (unvarying), self-identical in nature, and 
present in all activities, it could never possess the clear- 
ness and definiteness necessary to experience ; and also, 
if it constituted by itself at any time the whole of our 
experience (which is the same as saying that thought 
and action might be unconnected with self-conscious- 
ness), the coherency of our being would be destroyed. 
It could not arise in the animalistic stage, because 
self-consciousness has not then arisen. But when 
the human soul breaks loose from the confusedness 
of that lower stage and recognizes the antitheses 
which present themselves in experience; and yet 
along with its sense of partial freedom and partial 
dependence recognizes also its absolute dependence, 
so that every potency of the sensuous consciousness 
is related to that higher consciousness, then we 
have the self-consciousness at the point of perfec- 
tion. The more fully every element of the determinate 
self-consciousness is shot through with the feeling of 
absolute dependence, the more fully religious the man 


is. The second and third stages always coexist. In 
other words, the feehng of absohite dependence is 
always conjoined with sensuous experiences, and the 
degree of a man's piety depends upon the extent to 
which his sensuous experience is pervaded by the pious 
feeling. Or, to state it again differently, the measure 
of piety is the extent to which a man feels himself 
absolutely dependent, even in the midst of his rela- 
tions to objects toward which he is relatively free, and 
the extent to which he can unite them all with him 
as absolutely dependent. Of course the ideal life, the 
blessedness of finite beings, would consist in an even- 
ness of condition in which the religious feeling main- 
tains itself in unbroken perfection, but in actual life 
sensuous experience introduces influences favorable 
and unfavorable to the feeling of absolute dependence, 
producing joy or grief, elevation or repression of the 
religious life, so that in consequence it comes to be 
expressed in a series,, more or less interrupted, of 
pious impulses, instead of being constant and un- 

This feeling of absolute dependence, the God- 
consciousness, being the highest stage of the immediate 
self-consciousness, is an essential element of human 
nature. (The absence of this feeling in the case of 
any man or association of men could not prove that it 
is only contingently related to human nature, unless 
it could be shown that it is of no higher worth than 
sensuous feeling, or that there are other feelings be- 
sides of equal value with it.) Now, every essential 


element of human nature forms a basis of communion. 
For, on the one hand, the race-consciousness within 
us produces an impulse to overstep the boundaries of 
our own personality and combine with others, and 
therein it finds its satisfaction; and, on the other hand, 
this impulse to communicate to others our inner ex- .• 
perience is rendered possible of fulfilment by the con- • 
stant connection of the religious feeling with sensuous ' 
experience (above noted). Word, act, tone, facial 
expression become channels for communicating to • 
others and (through the race-consciousness) of stimu- • 
lating in them our own experience. The issue is, the • 
formation of an association or communion based upon 
that experience and composed of those who are capable 
of appropriating it. Thus religion produces religious . 
communions. These will vary in character, on the • 
one hand, according to likeness or unlikeness of dis- 
position in different people (that is to say, according 
to the region of the self -consciousness with which the 
God-consciousness can most easily be united), and, 
on the other hand, according to the external circum- 
stances (e.g., household or territorial relations) which 
shape their lives. Thus the rehgious feeling produces, 
in connection with these relative mutual attractions 
and repulsions, churches varying in character accord- 
ing to the influences just described. And as indi- ' 
viduals or families vary in respect to the power of ' 
communicating the religious impulse, one being re- ' 
lated to it actively, and another, or others, rather ' 
receptively, so arises priesthood. 


Note. — If the religious nature is essentially social and ex- 
presses itself in the formation of churches, then it is confusing 
to speak of "natural religion"; because tliere is no natural 
church in existence in which the elements of such "natural 
religion" may be sought. It were better to speak of the re- 
ligious disposition or religiosity (§§3-6). 



(Philosophy of Religion) 

The idea of history presupposes development. In 
the political sphere the human race exhibits develop- 
ment in the progress of society through unions and 
amalgamations to the tribe and the nation; in art and 
science from rudeness to culture; similarly in respect 
to religion. From its original home in the household 
it spreads out into widely extended religious com- 
munions. But religious progress is not necessarily 
parallel with the other forms. For while certain spe- 
cies of religion are incompatible with a low form of 
civilization or culture, yet the development of piety 
to the highest perfection is possible while other spir- 
itual functions remain far behind. Nor does it follow 
that, because two communities or peoples have passed 
through the same number of stages of religious de- 
velopment, their religion will be of the same character. 
Religions differ in kind as well as in their stage of 
development, as may be seen in the case of widely 
separated communities on the lowest stage. These 
distinctions have not received much attention in the 
past because the critical study of the history of religion 


has had regard to the individual rather than to the 

This twofold distinction — kinds and stages — will 
serve to indicate the relation of Christianity to other 
communions or modes of faith. The admission that 
Christianity may occupy a stage of development similar 
to that of other religions is not prejudicial to its pre- 
eminence or finality, but it is incompatible with the 
view that Christianity stands related to other religions 
as the true to the false. Were other religions mere 
errors or absolutely false, how could Christianity con- 
tain so much in common with them and how could any 
man make the transition to it from the others? For 
error never exists in and for itself; it is a perversion 
of the truth and can be understood only through its 
connection with the truth. (See Rom. 1:21 ff . ; Acts 

The lowest stage of religious development is occu- 
pied by idolatry or fetichism, from which monolatry 
is not generically distinct. In this, worship is paid 
to a god whose interest and influence are confined to a 
limited sphere, because the worshipers are at that 
stage of mental development in which the sense of 
totality has not yet been awakened. The addition of 
several idols or fetiches is contingent on the discovery 
of the incapacity of the first to meet all needs but in 
no wise indicates higher religious aspiration. The 
religious subject has not yet passed beyond that con- 
fused animalistic condition in which the distinction 


between the higher and the lower consciousness has 
not appeared; and accordingly the feeling of absolute 
dependence is reflected from an individual object 
sensuously apprehended. 

The union of several objects of worship in such a 
way that a plurality of idols represents one essence 
inhering in a manifold, introduces the next stage, when 
idolatry passes over into polytheism proper. Here 
the local relations of the different deities entirely 
recede and the gods form an articulated, coherent, 
manifold exhausting the whole sphere of deity. This 
corresponds to a sense for plurality, multiplicity, of 
being, in which a One-All is presupposed and sought 
for. The self -consciousness is now able to make the 
clear distinction between subject and object — the re- 
ligious feeling is accordingly reflected from various 
affections of the sensuous self-consciousness, so that 
it is impossible as yet to refer the feeling of absolute 
dependence to a unity rising above all sensuous ap- 
prehension. Polytheism is an intermediate stage par- 
taking of the nature of the other two. 

As the conception of the inherence of this plu- 
rality of beings in one Being rises more and more into 
consciousness and the higher self-consciousness be- 
comes fully distinguished from the lower sensuous 
consciousness, monotheism appears. It is based on the 
unity of a Supreme. The self-consciousness has now 
been extended so as to take in the whole world of 
which we are a part; the world is apprehended as a 
unity; the religious feeling is capable of connection 


with every sensuous affection ; hence the feehng of 
absohite dependence can be referred to the Supreme 
Being. This is the highest stage of rehgious develop- 

So soon as rehgion has in some place been devel- 
oped up to the stage of faith in one God, it can be 
foreseen that all mankind is destined to attain to it; 
for this faith contains within itself the impulse to 
unlimited expansion and the powder to appeal to the re- 
ceptivity of all men. From this two conclusions fol- 
low : it is impossible to conceive the original condition 
of mankind as mere brutality, and it is impossible for 
any man to pass from a higher to a lower stage of 
religion. There is also no historical instance of either 

On this highest stage history shows only three 
great communions : the Jewish, the Christian, and the 
Mohammedan — the first in process of extinction, the 
other two struggling for the mastery of the human 
race. Judaism, by its limitation of Jehovah's love to 
the stock of Abraham, is akin to fetichism. This 
appeared in that tendency to idol-worship which was 
not eradicated till after the exile. Mohammedanism 
betrays by its passionate character and the strongly 
sensuous content of its religious ideas its affinity to 
polytheism. Christianity has neither of these defects; 
from it there can be no relapse to either of the others. 

Note. — Since pantheism has never appeared as the confession 
of a historical religious communion, it does not come into con- 


sideration here, except with reference to the question whether 
a pantheism which has arisen from speculative thought be com- 
patible with religion, supposing, of course, that the so-called 
pantheism is not a disguised negation of theism. If, in pantheism, 
God denotes the unity of the world, the question may be 
answered in the affirmative, since God and the world would then 
be distinguished, at least as to function. A man who reckons 
himself one with the world may at the same time feel himself, 
with this all, dependent on that which is the unity thereto. 

These three communions in the monotheistic stage 
represent three kinds or species, because their develop- 
ment is on different lines. The fundamental, as con- 
trasted with a merely empirical, distinction between 
them is not to be found in a different quality of the 
feeling of absolute dependence (which is absolutely 
simple and therefore admits of no modifications), but 
in the different ways in which the religious feeling 
stands related to the sensuous experiences with which 
it must be united in order to constitute a moment of 
experience, an activity of life. Considering now the 
whole of life as made up of action and passion in 
their reciprocal operation, the relation of these to each 
other as means and end gives two general types of 
piety. When passion is a means to action, when it 
becomes only the occasion of some activity, springing 
from the God-consciousness, i.e., when the union of 
the God-consciousness with the receptive experiences 
which we receive from contact with the world becomes 
a means of promoting personal activity in the kingdom 
of God, the type of piety is teleological. Here it is 
the dominant attitude to an ethical task that consti- 


tutes the ground type of the rehgious state of mind. 
When action is a means to passion, i.e., when the union 
of the God-consciousness with active states of the 
individual becomes a means to the harmonious effect 
of contact with the world upon our receptive (i.e., 
feeling) nature, the type of piety is aesthetic. In 
teleological types of religion the sensuous is subordi- 
nated to the ethical ; in the aesthetic types the ethical 
is subordinated to the sensuous. The former tends 
to the expansion, the latter to the contraction, of 
our self -consciousness. Christian and Hellenic piety 
are, respectively, the best examples of these. 

Confining our attention now to those religions 
which represent the highest stage we discover the 
s:rand distinction between the three monotheistic re- 
ligions. In Christianity everything is comprehended 
under the conception of the kingdom of God ; in it all 
joy and pain and all impulses springing from passive 
conditions partake of a religious character only in so 
far as they promote activity in this kingdom. In Juda- 
ism, although the expectation of divine punishments 
and rewards indicates on one side the prominence of 
the sensuous element, yet the prevailing form of its 
God-consciousness is that of a Governing Will and 
hence passive states are ultimately subordinate to the 
active. But Mohammedanism is fatalistic and sub- 
jects the ethical to the natural in that it seeks as its 
end, even in its activities, the ease which results from 
a favorable relation to the divine decrees. Hence, 
while Christianity is wholly teleological and Judaism 


less perfectly so, Mohammedanism is unmistakably of 
the aesthetic type. 

Every religious community is a unit in two re- 
spects. (Compare the twofold distinction of stages 
and kinds, as above.) Externally, it possesses histori- 
cal continuity from a definite point of beginning; in- 
ternally, it puts its own characteristic stamp upon 
everything it possesses, even if other communions 
possess the same in some form. Thus as Moham- 
medanism arose with the Prophet, and Judaism with 
Moses, so Christianity began with Christ and possesses 
unbroken continuity to the present. Also the whole 
inward character of each is peculiarly its own. Chris- 
tianity is not an offshoot of Judaism or a supplement 
to it. The sphere of religious experience in the case 
of these two religions is fundamentally different. In 
the case of the Christian religion faith in Christ must 
modify all pious feelings, must impart a new character 
to all the previously existent religious impulses, even 
to the God-consciousness in all the relations in which 
it is already present. Else Christ w^ould be only an 
individual object capable of making certain impres- 
sions upon us, but no proper object of faith. 

Note. — Positive and revealed religion: "Natural religion," 
like "natural right," can only denote that which by a process of 
mental abstraction is seen to comprehend the elements common 
to all cases, and, like "natural right," has never been and never 
can be the basis of a communion. Such natural religion would 
not be so much religion as doctrine. If "positive" is taken 
to refer to the individualizing of this common possession, for 
example in Judaism in the form of commandment, in Christianity 


in the form of doctrine; then it can be shown that either com- 
mandment or doctrine has actual, acknowledged validity only 
within a definite communion, and must therefore rest ultimately 
upon the original religious fact (e.g., in Christianity, the person 
of Christ) which gave rise to this religious communion. The 
term "positive" must refer properly to the sum-total of pious 
life-energies within a communion which as a coherent historical 
phenomenon has issued from this original fact. 

Though the terms "revealed" and "revelation" have 
been subjected to much confusion of thought, it may 
be said that they always imply the fact of a divine 
communication and announcement which gave rise 
to a union of individuals. Only, this original fact 
constitutive of a basis of communion cannot be re- 
garded as operative on man regarded merely as a 
knowing being, for in that case the revelation would be 
originally and essentially doctrine. But no super- * 
natural energy is necessary to the production of a 
combination of sentences which can be understood 
from their connection with one another. Doctrines 
therefore can be considered of supernatural origin only 
as parts of a larger whole, as descriptions of the life- 
energies of a thinking Being who, as a personal 
existence, works in an original way upon our self- 
consciousness by his advent into our sphere of life and 
by the total impression of his person. This is the 
original fact upon which the Christian communion 
is founded. Revelation is only to be assumed where '' 
not a single activity but a whole Existence is deter- 
mined by such a divine communication, and what is 
then announced of such, that is to be considered as 


revealed. There is revelation, therefore, in all re- 
ligious communions. None can claim that its own 
possession of divine communication is full and perfect 
truth and all others are false, because an announcement 
of God, if it is to be operative upon us, cannot be of 
» him as he is in himself, but only of him in his relation 
■* to us. All original formations of piety, however im- 
» perfect they may be, rest upon revelation (§§ 7-10). 



It is the first duty of the apologist to discover and 
define the peculiar essence of that faith which he de- 
fends. The difficulty of doing this is very great in 
the case of Christianity because the Christian com- 
munion is split up into so many relatively separate 
communions. The apologist has to indicate not only 
the essence of Christianity in general but also that 
of the particular communion to which he adheres. 
This difficulty is accentuated by the variant forms of 
single doctrines, the diverse attitudes with which they 
are approached, and the many controversies which 
await settlement — to say nothing of the present 
wretched state of the science of apologetics. On this 
account we must content ourselves at present with the 
rather meager assumptions which follow. 

All Christians are agreed on two points : ( i ) in re- 
ferring the origin of their communion to Jesus of 
Nazareth; (2) in the description of his work as re- 
demption, though the term is not used by all, nor 


always occurs in the same sense. Its implications 
are two : passively, a transition out of a bad state into a 
better; actively, deliverance supplied by another. 
Restoration to a higher state preceding the bad is not 
necessarily involved in it. Since, in the Christian 
religion, piety is of a teleological character, this bad 
state is to be viewed as one in which the higher self- 
consciousness, the God-consciousness, is so repressed 
that it is difficult to unite it with the determinate sensu- 
ous experiences of life. We may call it godlessness 
or god-forgetfulness — not a condition in which there 
is an entire loss of God-consciousness, for the lack of 
something lying entirely outside the nature could not 
be felt as a want, but a state in which the religious 
feeling is under bondage. The two states are not 
thus absolutely antithetical; the opposition is one of 
degree. In the bad state the sensuous consciousness 
dominates the God-consciousness; by redemption the 
relation is reversed. 

The penances and purifications found in all re- 
ligious communions are expressions of a universal 
consciousness of this need of redemption, but Chris- 
tianity is distinct from all other religions by regard- 
ing all its religious impulses as dependent upon the 
redemption effected by Jesus of Nazareth, and also 
in that this redemption is considered as perfected and 
complete. The degree in which these two elements are 
felt by dififerent Christians of course varies, but neither 
is ever entirely wanting. Other religions express the 
need of redemption ; Christianity presents its actuali- 


zatioii; in others the redemption is derivative and 
dependent on doctrines or forms; in Christianity re- 
demption is the central point and rests on the person 
of its Founder. The communication and extension 
of his redemptive activity is the matter of supreme 
concern. In this relation between the members of the 
Christian communion and its founder lies the pre- 
eminent distinction of Christianity. In Judaism, for 
example, and in Mohammedanism, the person of the 
founder bears no necessary relation to the communion ; 
another might have founded it as well; he himself 
stood in need of the deliverance he brought. In these 
respects Christ stands distinct from all others. From 
this two conclusions follow : ( i ) Christianity is essen- 
tially different from all other religions and cannot be 
a mere perfecting of that which lay potentially in 
them; (2) Christianity can never progress beyond 

Christianity stands in a special historical connection 
with Judaism, for Christ was of the Jewish race, and 
indeed it seems that a universal Redeemer could not 
have arisen except from a monotheistic people. But 
its relation to Judaism and heathenism were much 
more alike than is commonly held. For in the time of 
Christ Judaism had become permeated with many non- 
Jewish elements and many of the messianic promises 
had been given up or misunderstood; while, on the 
other hand, both Greeks and Romans had monotheistic 
leanings and expectations similar to the Jewish messi- 
anic hope. The demands which Christianity made on 


both were such that the cost of becoming a Christian 
was nearly equal in the two cases. But the leap from 
heathenism to Christianity seemed greater than from 
Judaism because monotheism already was universal 
among the Jews, whereas heathens had to receive it 
directly from Christianity without passing through 
Judaism. Christianity was no transformation of Juda- 
ism or a renewing propagation of it. Christ is no 
more a development of Judaism than of heathen phi- 
losophy, for the self-consciousness underlying Chris- 
tianity is different. Christianity is indeed a fulfilment 
of Old Testament promises, not, however, in regard 
to the self -consciousness of those to whom the prom- 
ises came, but in regard to the divine counsel. It cannot 
be admitted that there is an identity between Chris- 
tianity and either the earlier or the later Judaism, nor 
that Judaism without the introduction of a new element 
could develop by a natural progression into Chris- 
tianity, nor again that Christ himself lay in this pro- 
gression in such a way that the life of new communion 
did not begin with him. 

The appearing of the Redeemer was not a some- 
thing absolutely supernatural. While Christ cannot 
be considered as a product of the circumstances and 
spiritual environment in which he appeared, yet he was 
conditioned by them. His appearance must have been 
in accordance with the laws of human nature in its 
higher meaning. That is, the advent of such a life 
as his may be regarded as the work of a power of de- 
velopment inherent in human nature from the first, 


and externalizing itself in certain men at certain points 
of time, and thence spreading out, according to laws 
divinely ordered but, perhaps, concealed from us. Hence 
the appearance from time to time of religious geniuses 
prior to Christ. But these earlier revelations are 
worthy of the name only because they are destined to 
lose themselves in him who is to give gradually a 
higher life to the entire race. The incarnation in this 
sense is something natural. Since Christ was a man, 
in human nature there must be, in the original purpose 
of God, the capacity for the implanting of the divine 
in it. That is, the implanting of the divine in human 
nature is an eternal act. Otherwise the incarnation in 
Jesus would be an arbitrary act of God. 

Neither was the appearing of the Redeemer some- 
thing absolutely super-rational. If the life-energies 
of Christ by which he wrought the redemption could 
be explained from the common reason dwelling in all 
men, then any other could work the redemption as 
well as he. That the super-rational is to be posited in 
the Redeemer and in the redeemed, and consequently 
in the whole range of the operations of Christianity, 
has been acknowledged almost universally by its con- 
fessors. Yet the redemption is dependent upon reason 
in that the state of the heart which Christ conveys to 
men in it could not be bestowed upon an irrational 
soul. If there were a total separation between the 
work of the Holy Spirit and the highest elevation of 
human reason, a consciousness of the need of re- 
demption cojild never rise and never be satisfied. 


Note. — The doctrinal presentation of redemption is an en- ■ 
tirely rational procedure, and doctrines are not to be divided 
into rational and super-rational, but they are all to constitute 
together a unitary system. In one reference all Christian doc- ~ 
trines are above reason — in the inner experience to which they 
refer — hence a proper appreciation of Christian doctrine cannot . 
result from a purely scientific process. But in another reference , 
all Christian doctrines are rational, in that all doctrinal con- • 
structions must follow the same laws of thought as proposi- « 
tions dealing with other matters. A distinction between rational ' 
theology and a theology which is above reason is inadmissible. ' 

Entrance into the Christian communion is solely, 
therefore, through faith in Christ as Redeemer. The 
expression "faith in Christ" like "faith in God" means 
the reference of our religious condition as effect to 
Christ as cause. Like the feeling of absolute de- 
pendence, it is an inner certainty which accompanies 
a condition of the higher self-consciousness. That 
condition is one of freedom from the need of redemp- 
tion and it begets in the subject an effort to draw 
others into the same inner experience, an effort to 
extend the communion of faith by an exposition of 
the religious life in which Christ's own activity is 
present. That is to say, the representation of Christ 
in the Christian communion of faith is Christ's 
own self-presentation. The Christian message is, 
thus, at bottom, a testimony to an inner experience 
which is referred to the activity of Christ himself, 
because in that presentation of his historical career 
and his character which the testimony involves, 
the impression made on the minds of those who believe 


is the same as Christ himself made on his contempo- 
raries. Thus faith and the participation in the Chris- 
tian communion from which proceeds the testimony 
which awakens faith are inseparable. This faith is a 
certainty, equal to that which accompanies objective 
perception, that in the Christian communion founded 
by Christ the religious feeling is in the position of 
control, that through the operation of Christ on men 
the feeling of absolute dependence is established in 
their consciousness and dominates their experience 
in the world. Such certainty is not to be confounded 
with objective certainty based on demonstration. All 
so-called demonstrations of the need of redemption 
and of Christ's ability to effect it, whether by reference 
to miracles, prophetic promises, or other "evidences," 
presuppose the very thing they seek to prove. Faith 
does not result from such demonstrations, but it is 
the outcome, on the one hand, of an awakening to 
a more perfect self-consciousness and, on the other 
hand, of the reception of the total impression of his 
person (§§ 11-14). 


Like all other modifications of the self-conscious- 
ness, pious excitations have a tendency toward external 
expression, as in look, movement, tone, gesture. This 
is the source of systems of sacred signs and symbolic 
actions. It is inevitable that in the higher stages of 
mental development there should be an attempt to 
apprehend religious experiences in the form of idea 


and to retain them in the forms of thought. The 
connection and combination of these ideas in such a 
manner as to express the rehgious consciousness in a 
definite way and thus to give range to its circulation 
constitutes a rehgious doctrine, a declaration of faith. 
Christianity throughout the whole course of its prog- 
ress from the Redeemer's personal teaching to the 
present has been characterized by this method of 
propagation, that is, it has been spread abroad by 
preaching. Every statement of Christian doctrine is 
a part of the preaching, for it aims at communicating 
the inner certainty of blessedness bestowed by the 
Redeemer. The form of the preaching is threefold — 
poetical, oratorical, and didactic. The last is of special 
importance when the other two forms of utterance 
fall into apparent contradictions because of their 
abundant use of figures. In those communions, par- 
ticularly, which possess a high degree of culture and 
scientific knowledge, there is a felt necessity of con- 
necting religious knowledge organically with the whole 
body of knowledge ; there is a need of dogmatics. 

Dogmatics, then, arises primarily out of the de- 
mands of the religious consciousness. As to subject- 
matter, it is a description of subjective states of mind 
and it claims no validity beyond that of the inner cer- 
tainty which is the Christian's possession. It is a 
necessary expression of the Christian consciousness, 
for it appears in obedience to the impulse of religion 
universally to exhibit itself and, in the case of Chris- 
tianity particularly, to the impulse to extend the re- 


deeming activity of Christ. On its own account the 
Christian communion requires a clear expression of 
its own pecuHar possession ; without such a descrip- 
tion of the common faith piety in its membership 
could not reach the highest development nor could 
it be propagated effectively in the world. 

Tributary to the religious interest there is also a 
scientific interest to be satisfied. The human mind 
craves for unity, coherence, system, and the religious 
consciousness itself must remain unsatisfied until it 
has perceived the relation which faith bears to the 
other activities of the mind. A truly dogmatical state- 
ment must serve both of these interests, and its 
ecclesiastical worth is determined by its perfect corre- 
spondence with both. The same interests involve the 
combination of single dogmatical utterances into an 
interrelated and integrated whole, so that every potency 
of the religious consciousness in its full range may 
find an adequate expression. 

Dogmatics stands in a derivative relation to the 
Christian religious experience and not the reverse. As 
to its content it is not made up of a series or system 
of propositions unfolded from some objective truth 
obtained by a speculative process, nor is it a combina- 
tion of doctrines supernaturally revealed; because in 
neither of these cases would Christian dogmatics stand 
in any necessary relation to Christian piety, nor would 
it possess any necessary validity for the Christian com- 
munion. Besides, since in both its origin would lie 
in a source external to the Christian consciousness as 


such, dogmatics would be dependent for its substance 
upon the products of philosophy and historical criti- 
cism and be subject to all the changes and uncertainties 
which pertain to these sciences. A dogmatic which 
consisted of such supposedly objective truths could not 
minister to religious needs. 

Christian piety expresses itself in the world in a 
multiplicity of ways, varying with the conditions of 
human progress in various places and ages. Its nature 
will, accordingly, be understood with growing perfec- 
tion, as its expression in the many forms of Christian 
activity becomes ever more complete. Thus while 
dogmatics may gather its statement of doctrines from 
all this ever-varying and ever-growing material, it must 
itself ever remain incomplete, ever capable of fuller 
and more accurate expression, and ever in need of new 
scientific treatment. Dogmatic theology may be de- 
fined as "the science of the combination of the doctrines 
which are valid in a Christian church-communion at a 
given time." From this, three conclusions may be 
drawn: (i) No statement of doctrines can be final 
but Christian dogmatics must be ever progressive; 
(2) Yet there is a standard for the testing of dog- 
matical expression — the fundamental Christian self- 
consciousness; (3) The teacher of dogmatics must be 
in personal possession of the definite Christian con- 
sciousness pervading a Christian Church-communion 

(§§ 15-19)- 


In a statement of the doctrines of the Christian 
faith, as has been already pointed out, we cannot be- 
gin with some principle externally given and then 
develop from it by a dialectical process a system of 
doctrines; but since Christianity is a modification of 
the self-consciousness, Christian doctrine will be the 
expression of that self-consciousness and all alleged 
doctrines of Christianity must be tested by the same. 
In the course of history a great number of these in a 
more or less systematic form have already appeared. 
It is necessary, therefore, to find a rule for the testing 
of them and then a principle according to which they 
may be arranged and combined in an articulated 


The Christian religion is historical in character. 
Christian piety arises in no individual independently, 
but is propagated in the Christian communion and 
through it. This communion, comprehending many 
individuals, is, by virtue of its common inner character, 
a truly unitary life; it is one moral person existing 
under conditions of spiritual sickness or health. The 
fundamental basis of this communion is the peculiar 
essence of Christianity, and this once ascertained, we 



may then distinguish from it that which springs from 
an alien source; that is, what is heretical may be sep- 
arated from what is of the church. Now, since the 
peculiar nature of Christianity consists in this, that all 
pious impulses are referred to the redemption which 
comes from Jesus of Nazareth, the rule is herewith 
supplied for the detection of heresy in doctrine: to 
wit, by ascertaining the different ways in which the 
essence of Christianity may be contradicted while the 
appearance of it is retained. We hereby obtain at the 
same time a rule for the detection of error or defect 
in our own apprehension of it. 

There are two ways of annulling the essence of 
Christianity while accepting the reference of the im- 
pulses of religion to Jesus' redemptive activity as its 
basis, namely, by a wrong view either of human nature 
or of the nature of the Redeemer. The result is that 
in neither is there implicated a participation in true 
Christianity. In the former case heresy arises when 
the redemption is accepted, but either man's need of it 
or his capacity to receive it is implicitly denied. Of 
those heresies which arise from a defective view of 
man's nature, Pelagianism, implicitly denying man's 
need of redemption, while admitting the full capacity 
of his nature; and Manichaeism, implicitly denying 
man's capacity for redemption while admitting his 
need, are respectively the types embracing all. 

The second class of heresies arises when the re- 
demption is accepted but Christ's ability to effect it 
is implicitly denied. This also occurs in a twofold 


manner, either by a denial of Christ's pre-eminence 
over all other men, or by a denial of his essential 
likeness to them. If Christ is the Redeemer, i.e., if he 
is the definite point of commencement of a constant 
and living, and therefore unhindered, activity of the 
God-consciousness in such a way that all others have 
part therein only through him, he must have an exclu- 
sive and peculiar dignity among men, and at the same 
time must possess an essential likeness to them. When 
the former is so exclusively emphasized that the latter 
seems a mere appearance, the heresy is of the docetic 
type; when the case is the reverse, the heresy is of 
the ebionitic type. Opposition to the essence of Chris- 
tianity in any other form is not heretical but anti- 

Note. — Supernaturalism is often akin to Manichaeism and 
Docetism, and Rationalism to Pelagianism and Ebonitism. 

The evangelical dogmatician must assume the addi- 
tional task of developing the antithesis between Protes- 
tantism and Catholicism into clear consciousness and 
of establishing it in a formula. For, just as the pecul- 
iar nature of Christianity is not to be found in an 
abstract conception of religion and religious com- 
munion, so also, since the religion of the individual 
and his relation to Christ does not arise or continue 
in him independently of the Christian communion, 
the peculiar nature of Protestantism is not to be dis- 
covered in a general conception of Christianity. For 
the Reformation was no mere reform of abuses; it 


was a point from which proceeded a peculiar formation 
of the Christian communion, a communion antithetical 
to Catholicism. To state the same thing somewhat 
differently : Just as Christianity is a phenomenon in 
history, an empirical fact, and its existence and char- 
acter cannot be deduced from abstract conceptions of 
religion in general ; so also Protestantism is a historical 
phenomenon and likewise is not to be deduced from 
the abstract conception of Christianity. The historical 
facts cannot be made to correspond with dialectical 
processes. The central point of opposition between 
the two communions can best be discovered by inquir- 
ing for those qualities in the one church which are the 
chief ground of objection in the other. The principal 
Roman Catholic accusation against Protestantism is 
that it is destructive of the ancient historic church and 
is incapable of building up an unbroken and enduring 
communion, but is ever fluctuating and ever tending 
to dissolve into mere individualism. On the other 
hand. Protestantism makes its chief objection to 
Catholicism that it robs Christ of his honor by laying 
all stress on the idea of the church and referring every- 
thing to it, and that thereby Christ is subordinated to 
the church. Each accuses the other of slighting the 
Christian principle, but in an opposite way. The an- 
tithesis is capable of being stated briefly, thus : Protes- 
tantism makes the relation of the individual to the 
church dependent on his relation to Christ; Catholi- 
cism makes the relation of the individual to Christ 
dependent on his relation to the church. In Protes- 


tant dogmatics, therefore, the conception of the rela- 
tion of the individual to Christ is primary and funda- 

Note. — There is no sufficient obstacle to the union of the 
Lutheran and Reformed churches since their doctrinal dis- 
harmonies do not rest on a fundamental difference in the re- 
ligious frame of mind or a difference in morality and ethics, 
but they are solely an affair of the schools. 

From the inherence of Christian piety in a com- 
munion it follows also that a statement of doctrine is 
not the mere independent opinion of an individual, 
but is an expression of the peculiar religious conscious- 
ness of the Christian communion in which he lives 
and upon which he also reacts. Thus there comes to 
light a characteristic of Protestantism dogmatics : it 
is not an inventory of doctrines finally determined; 
but the free play of the individual factor in religious 
life and reflection is combined and interrelated with 
the common life and doctrine of the ecclesiastical body 
in which he inheres and which has itself come into ex- 
istence by this very activity of individuals. Protestant 
dogmatics possesses both an ecclesiastical character 
and individual peculiarity and originality, and conse- 
quently not only is but ever is becoming. The process 
of the transformation and development of doctrine 
which began at the Reformation is to go on, unhin- 
dered, indefinitely. 

Note. — The terms orthodox and heterodox have no validity 
in Protestant dogmatics. 


Christian dogmatics and Christian ethics are best 
treated separately, because, while both are expressions 
of a Christian religious frame of mind, and while in 
their combination they present the whole reality of the 
Christian life, the former represents a static modifica- 
tion of human nature, the latter represents its activity 

(§§21-26). '.; 


There already exists in ecclesiastical creeds, con- 
fessions, and doctrinal formularies a mass of pro- 
fessedly Christian doctrines, (a) Each one of these 
separate doctrinal propositions admits of a critical 
test ; then the consistency one with another of all these 
is to be tested in order to unite all the truly Christian 
doctrines into one integral system. Every doctrine 
must conform to the following conditions: (i) It 
must be confessionally true, i.e., it must be a true ex- 
pression of the Christian consciousness in some given 
church communion; (2) it must be scripturally true, 
i.e., it must be a genuine expression of that piety which 
appears in the New Testament; (3) it must be scien- 
tifically true, i.e., it must be logically consistent with 
other true expressions of the Christian faith and also 
with the facts of the objective consciousness; the 
terminology of dogmatics must be strictly scientific. 
These three tests are to be applied in the order named. 
Or, to put it in a word, Christian dogma must be the 
self-consistent expression, dialectically exact and in 
systematic form, of the common continuous Christian 


consciousness and in harmony with the unity of human 
nature. That conformity with some Protestant con- 
fession is made a test prior to conformity with the 
New Testament is not prejudicial to the latter, because, 
in addition to the fact that the Protestant church sym- 
bols themselves are professedly based on the Scrip- 
tures and the necessity of going back from the creeds 
to the Scriptures would arise only in case their inter- 
pretations of the latter are suspected, there is the 
further consideration that no individual opinion, pur- 
porting to be Christian, which does not possess ap- 
parent homogeneity with the expressed consciousness 
of a historic communion can be considered worthy of 
being called a dogma. 

That dogmas must be based on the New Testament 
rather than the whole Bible follows from what has 
been said of the relation between Christianity and 
Judaism. Moreover, if a doctrinal statement can be 
shown to rest on the New Testament no additional 
weight can be given it by a further reference to the 
Old; while, if it be supported by the Old Testament 
alone, it cannot claim to be Christian. Further, it is 
quite inappropriate and misleading to import the very 
expressions of Scripture into a doctrinal system, for 
this is to overlook the difference between scientific 
language and the free, popular, and rhetorical usage 
in the Scriptures. Isolated texts are to be used only 
when they evidently issue from the same body of pious 
excitations as those which are expressed in the dog- 
matical propositions. 


(b) The range of Christian dogmatics is deter- 
mined by the consciousness of redemption. Within 
this consciousness lies a fundamental antithesis. On 
the one side is the need of redemption, a repression 
and limitation of the God-consciousness, a felt inabil- 
ity to erect the feeling of absolute dependence into a 
position of supremacy over all the activities of life. 
On the other side is the certainty of redemption 
through Jesus Christ, i.e., the God-consciousness is 
now put into a commanding position in all the energies 
of life, and this power to hold all in subjection to the 
religious feeling is referred to Christ. This does not 
imply that the consciousness of the need of redemption 
has disappeared ; it may indeed be more vivid ; but it is 
now specifically Christian. 

Consequently, all professedly Christian doctrines 
must conform to the demand that they have their 
source in the Christian consciousness of redemption. 
Thus it is impossible for Christian dogmatics to take 
over from so-called "natural theology" -descriptions 
of a religious consciousness common to all men, or 
the results of speculative theology, however true these 
may be in themselves. Nor can this be done with 
doctrines of the person of the Redeemer, relating to 
a time anterior or posterior to, or apart from, his re- 
demptive activity, or with doctrines of a state of 
humanity in which men no longer feel the antithesis 
implied in redemption, since those doctrines are not 
expressions of the Christian consciousness, whatever 
else they may be. Nor again can the discoveries of 


science in any field whatever or the products of meta- 
physical speculation, all of which may be independent 
of the higher self -consciousness, be accepted as ele- 
ments of a Christian doctrinal system until they have 
been reinterpreted from the standpoint of the Chris- 
tian religious experience. According to this view no 
assertions of mere historic fact or of speculation about 
this Redeemer himself are entitled to a place in Chris- 
tian doctrine. 

Since all Christian piety rests upon the appearing 
of the Redeemer, nothing that concerns him can be 
set forth as distinctly Christian doctrine which does 
not stand in connection with his redeeming causality 
and is not capable of being referred back to the origi- 
nal impression which his existence made. 

(c) As regards the framework in which dogma 
is to be exhibited : Since religion is in the last analysis 
the feeling of absolute dependence, and since that 
higher consciousness comes into actual supremacy over 
the sensuous consciousness in the Christian experience 
of redemption, Christian dogmatics will naturally 
commence with a description of the distinctively Chris- 
tian consciousness. But since, as has been shown, the 
feeling of absolute dependence is inseparable from a 
world-consciousness over against which a God-con- 
sciousness stands. Christian dogmatics will also present 
a doctrine of the world and a doctrine of God from 
the standpoint of redemption. 

We shall treat the historic confessional statements 
under these three heads and in the order indicated. 


This order of discussion differs from that which has 
been the rule among dogmaticians. They have given 
the question of the being and nature of God the first 
place in the order of topics, but our method is more in 
harmony with the requirements of science and the 
needs of the religious spirit (§§ 27-31). 

I. Unfolding of the Religious Self-Conscious- 
ness (§§ 32-61) 

The Christian consciousness presupposes and in- 
volves the consciousness of absolute dependence on 
God. But in that peculiar modification of the religious 
consciousness which is experienced in Christianity 
the exaltation of the God-consciousness from a con- 
dition of repression to a position of dominancy over 
all the sensuous impulses is referred to Christ, so that 
there can be no reference (relation) to Christ in which 
there is not also a reference to God. The pain which 
is felt at being unable to realize the supremacy of the 
God-consciousness is attributed to a want of com- 
munion with the Redeemer, while the satisfaction ex- 
perienced in the opposite state is contemplated as an 
impartation which has come to us out of this com- 
munion ; so that there is no religious activity or potency 
within the Christian communion in which a reference 
to Christ is not involved. 

It has been pointed out already that the religious 
feeling is never experienced in isolation from other 
experiences but always in connection with a world- 
consciousness ; and that the perfection of the God- 


consciousness is dependent upon the perfection of the 
world-consciousness. In other words, we find our- 
selves, as part of a world-whole, relatively free and 
relatively dependent. But over against this unity of a 
world organized and possessed of perfect interrela- 
tions in which we have our own definite place, there 
stands a higher unity upon which we feel ourselves 
and the world-unity absolutely dependent. The oblit- 
eration of the distinction between these separate unities 
annuls either the feeling of absolute dependence or the 
feeling of freedom, and contradicts human experience. 
Both of these two antithetical unities are therefore 
involved in the Christian consciousness. 

The experience of this feeling of absolute de- 
pendence is not contingent on any peculiar circum- 
stance in human life, as though it were accidental and 
not absolutely constituent of human nature, nor does 
it vary in its character in different men, but is the same 
in all. The difference in degrees of perfection among 
men does not consist in a distinction in the quality of 
this feeling but is to be referred to the degree of de- 
velopment of the intellectual functions. (See above.) 
Supposed instances of a human self-consciousness 
which is destitute of the God-consciousness disappear 
on close analysis, except in those individuals whose 
intelligence is entirely undeveloped. 

But even if our contention that the feeling of abso- 
lute dependence and the God-consciousness involved 
in it constitute a potency essential to human nature 


were successfully impugned, we should be under no 
compulsion to formulate in our dogmatics a proof of 
God's existence, for such "proofs" would only issue in 
an objective consciousness of God's existence which 
could have no place in a system which is based on im- 
mediate inner certainty. Moreover, experience has 
shown of how little avail are such demonstrations in 
the face of theoretical atheism. It is not the business 
of dogmatics to secure an admission of the God- 
consciousness but to develop its content. 

To resume : Since the Christian religious con- 
sciousness is connected with a consciousness of unity 
with the world on the one hand and involves the feeling 
of absolute dependence on God on the other, Chris- 
tian dogmatics will naturally begin with a description 
of the religious consciousness so far as the relation 
between God and the world is expressed in it; it will 
proceed further to describe the qualities of the world 
and the attributes of God so far as these are involved 
in that relation. It may be repeated also that such a 
doctrine of God and of the world is not supplementary 
to, or to be supplemented by, a scientific or philo- 
sophical doctrine of God and the world. Christian 
dogmatics rests upon its own basis, namely, the Chris- 
tian religious consciousness, and it is complete in 
itself. Whatever cannot be evolved from the religious 
consciousness cannot be admitted to a place in dog- 
matics, because it lies outside the sphere of religion. 


Section i. Description of the Religious Consciousness, 

so Far as the Relation between God and the 

World Is Expressed in It 

Only when we feel ourselves to have a place in 
that organic whole we call Nature, or, as otherwise 
expressed, only when we are conscious of belonging 
to that unity which we call the world, with its division 
into parts universally related to one another, do we 
recognize our absolute dependence upon that higher 
infinite unity we call God. Our absolute dependence 
on God involves the absolute dependence of the world 
also. Hence the doctrine of the world from the view- 
point of religion is summed up in the proposition: 
The totality of finite being exists solely by dependence 
on the Infinite. 

The creeds express this doctrine in the twofold 
form of the creation and the preservation of the world 
by God. Were not the use of these terms already es- 
tablished it would suffice to designate the whole rela- 
tion of the world to God by either of them. If creation, 
instead of denoting a divine activity which began and 
ended at a definite point, were used to designate the 
continuous and uninterrupted activity of God in the 
world, it would include the idea of preservation. Or 
if, for example, we think of the species in connection 
with the individual existences embraced in it, the crea- 
tion of the individuals is just the preservation of the 
species and the latter would include the former. In 
this way they become fairly interchangeable. The only 
distinction between these two conceptions is that the 


former adds to the latter the conception of a beginning 
of the relation of dependence. However, we have no 
consciousness of a beginning of existence, but only 
of a continuous existence; and therefore Christian 
dogmatics can produce no special doctrine of creation, 
but has only a negative interest in it. That is, dog- 
matics supplies the rule that no doctrine of creation 
can be accepted as Christian which is inconsistent with 
the world's complete and continuous dependence on 
God, as, e.g., the doctrine of a pre-existent material 
which was the subject of God's formative activity, or 
the doctrine of a commencement of divine activity at 
creation, both of which limit the dependence of the 
world to a circumscribed period. And, on the other 
hand, our discipline occupies a position of freedom in 
relation to scientific investigation. For example, for 
dogmatical purposes it is immaterial whether the ac- 
count of creation given in Genesis be in accordance 
with the facts or not, or whether we have in this book 
an inspired account of the manner in which the world 
came to be ; for in any case these are questions of cos- 
mology or of a doctrine of the Bible. Dogmatics is 
only concerned with those matters in so far as they 
stand related to religious feeling. The pious self- 
consciousness underlying the doctrine of creation is 
satisfied with that doctrine, ( i ) as expressing the idea 
of the world's origination through God, so long as 
God is not thereby brought into the relation of antithe- 
sis or limitation; (2) as referring the world's origin 
to divine activity, so long as it is not viewed as similar 


to human activity; (3) when it views the origin of the 
W'Orld as time-fiHing and conditioning all change, with- 
out the divine activity itself being made thereby 

The doctrine of preservation more suitably sets 
forth the fundamental religious consciousness. It has 
been pointed out already that the highest development 
of the self-consciousness involves a consciousness of 
our being a part of the articulated world-whole, and 
this again is a condition of the highest development of 
the God-consciousness. Hence the highest knowledge 
of the world and the highest knowledge of God are 
interdependent, being a twofold expression of one and 
the same self-consciousness. Scientific and religious 
conceptions of the world are not antagonistic but com- 
plementary. The divine preservation of the world and 
universal natural causality are one and the same thing 
viewed from different standpoints. The affirmation 
of our religious consciousness that all that affects us 
exists in a relation of absolute dependence on God 
falls into line with the intuition that all is conditioned 
and determined by the world-order. If the common 
idea were true that the religious and the scientific view 
of things are mutually exclusive and that when the 
•religious consciousness is more lively the scientific 
activity will be correspondingly weaker, and con- 
versely, then the growth of scientific knowledge would 
result in the gradual extinction of piety, and the in- 
terests of religion would be opposed to all research 
and further extension of knowledge — altogether in 


contradiction with the truth that the impulse to world- 
knowledge and the impulse to seek God are both es- 
sential to the human soul. Now, it is quite true that 
the unusual and stupendous events in nature stimulate 
the religious feeling most thoroughly, but that is not 
because of the obscurity of their relations with other 
phenomena, but just because they manifest the most 
clearly the subjection of all human existence and ac- 
tivity to universal potencies and by this stimulate 
our sense of dependence. But this itself is just the 
most perfect admission of the universality of the world- 
order. Apart from this admission the religious con- 
sciousness could not be connected with every natural 

Note. — The distinction between general and special preserva- 
tion is opposed to the universal interests of religion, and so 
also is the distinction between preservation and co-operation, 
for they imply the operation of forces which do not proceed 
from God. To add to these the idea of divine government is 
to make further confusion, for it introduces the antithesis of 
means and end to God, which implies a difference in the degrees 
of the immediacy of the relation of things to God. 

Because of the prominence which is given to the 
subject, particularly in apologetic writings, it is perti- 
nent to apply the principles here enunciated to the sub- 
ject of miracles. It is commonly supposed that an 
event which lies outside the fixed order of nature and 
which cannot, therefore, be accounted for by natural 
causality, has a special religious value because the 
divine causality is demanded for its explanation. But 


this is to suppose that the religious sphere lies outside 
of the universal order of relations, making the re- 
ligious synonymous with the arbitrary and exalting the 
quality of arbitrariness to the rank of a divine at- 
tribute. Nay, it does more : it separates God from the 
world and makes a religious view of the world im- 
possible. It is destructive of science and of religion 

If it be urged that the Christian belief in the 
hearing of prayer and the new birth demands a belief in 
miracles it may be replied here (though these subjects 
are to be treated later) that our view relates prayer to 
the divine preservation so that the prayer and its ful- 
filment or non-fulfilment are only parts of the one 
original divine order of things. As to the new birth — 
if the revelation of God in Christ is not something 
absolutely supernatural then Christian piety cannot 
require that anything which coheres with that revela- 
tion, and issues from it, be absolutely supernatural. 
Yet it is to be noted that our knowledge of the rela- 
tions of the physical and spiritual is too limited to 
warrant a denial of the historicity of certain remark- 
able events related in the New Testament. But this 
is a question for scientific investigation and not for 

The operation of influences which constitute 
limitations upon our life is not to be denied. 
There is a difficulty in connecting them with God. 
for it seems to make him the source of evil, including 
the morally bad. While dogmatics has nothing to do 


with the origin and continuance of evil as an existence, 
but has only to show how it consists with universal 
dependence, a reference to the difficulty just men- 
tioned is justifiable. If we divide these life-limiting 
forces into two classes : natural evil, by which human 
existence is partly annulled, and the bad, by which 
human activity is partly overcome in a conflict with 
others, the one class of opposing forces representing 
the totality of the powers of nature and the other class 
the entire combination of human activities ; then it may 
be pointed out that the very forces of Nature which 
further individual human existence up to a certain 
point are also those which limit and extinguish it. The 
same double effect is seen in the operation of social 
influences. It will appear, then, that the furthering 
and the limiting of life are mutually conditioned. The 
personal existence of the individual is conditioned by 
the very influences which limit him. Accordingly it 
becomes plain that evil and good do not occupy two 
separate spheres, but both taken together constitute 
the world as it is. That is to say, evil is not for itself as 
such ordained by God, because it never exists by itself 
but onlv in relation to the good, of which it is a condi- 
tion. All this is true, whether we speak of the ''mech- 
anism of nature" or of "free causes." Both belong 
to the universal order of nature, the cosmos. 


The idea of these spiritual existences is brought 
over from the Old Testament into the New Testament 


and occurs in the popular discourses of Jesus and the 
Apostles. But whatever may have been their atti- 
tude toward the prevalent belief in such beings, it is 
to be observed that they give us no didactic utterance 
on the subject. Also, the creeds, while referring to 
such beings, for the most part elaborate no doctrine of 
angels or of a devil. And this is natural. For while 
there is nothing impossible iiT the idea, dogmatics as 
such has no positive concern with it. Our discipline 
is only interested to prevent an injury to the religious 
feeling through the direction of faith to an activity 
other than God's, or through the idea that the fixed 
order of Nature may be interfered with or abrogated 
by other beings, and thus the absolute relation of God 
to the world be compromised. 

As to bad angels, every attempted doctrinal repre- 
sentation of them is full of self-contradictions. As 
to the doctrine of a supreme bad spirit called the devil, 
whatever may be the source of the idea — whether in 
the belief in a servant of God who announces the evil 
doings of men, or in oriental dualism with its doctrine 
of absolute evil, or in the Jewish view of the angel 
of death — it can have no place in Glauhcnslehre (a 
doctrine of faith). For if there is a personal actual 
existence absolutely opposed to God, a religious view 
of the world is impossible and faith in the Redeemer 
is compromised. For if the devil be a part of the 
world-whole, then God as absolute causality is not 
present to the whole of existence, the totality of 
experience cannot be referred to God, and religion 
ceases to be fundamental to human nature as a part 


of the totality of being. And if, on the other hand, 
the devil be not a part of that articulated totality 
we call the world, then the unity of the universe in 
relation to God is destroyed, our dependence on God 
ceases to be absolute, God is no longer absolutely 
God. Hence also, the redemption by Christ is com- 
promised. For if the devil be not included within 
its sphere, our redemption is not complete, for the 
totality of being ceases to be subordinate to Christ. 
He becomes only a help against a power from which 
he does not afford absolute protection. A belief in 
the devil can be by no means a condition of faith in 
God or in Christ ; nor may we discuss his influence 
within the kingdom of God. The doctrine of angels 
or of a devil is a question of cosmology, and not of 
theology. Such a doctrine cannot be a Christian 
dogma, because it cannot be an expression of the 
Christian consciousness. Moreover it is sure to fall 
into contradiction with growing scientific knowledge. 
Yet as long as men are conscious of the influence of 
inexplicable evil forces it is proper and necessary 
that the idea be utilized in religious communications 
of a practical and liturgical character (§§ 32-49). 

Section 2. Doctrine of God. The Divine Attributes 
Which Are Implicated in the Religious Self- 
Consciousness so Far as It Expresses the 
Relation between God and the World 

If, as has been pointed out, the feeling of absolute 
dependence, which is the essence of religion, is impli- 
cated in the specifically Christian consciousness, and 


if this consciousness of immediate relation with God 
arises only in connection with the consciousness of 
having a place in that universally interrelated whole 
which we call the world, then Christian dogmatics 
involves a doctrine of God and a doctrine of the 
world which arise from that fundamental religious 
feeling, apart from those doctrines which express 
the experience of redemption, which is specifically 
and exclusively Christian. 

Such a doctrine of God is not to be viewed as a 
description of God in himself, for we possess no ob- 
jective knowledge of God; and even if such were 
possible, it could not become a part of our discipline; 
because, as it does not spring out of the religious 
feeling but stands in an external relation to it, such 
knowledge, if introduced into dogmatics, would con- 
stitute an alien element destroying its unity. The 
usual method followed in the discussion of this sub- 
ject has produced confusion and a contradiction of 
the religious feeling. The various experiences of the 
religious spirit which have been expressed in poetry 
or popular discourse have been handled by the dog- 
maticians in a speculative way, as if they constituted 
a sum of knowledge about God. The necessity of 
divesting such expressions of their figurative and 
anthropomorphic form by a critical process before 
they can be utilized as material for a scientific state- 
ment has produced a skepticism in regard to religion, 
because it has become plain that in those ways no 
actual scientific knowledge of God was furnished. 


And when by a speculative process (e.g., z'ia emi- 
nentiac, ncgationis ct caitsalifafis) various classes of 
divine attributes are set forth (e.g., the natural or 
metaphysical and the moral, or the active and static, 
or the absolute and relative, or the original and 
derivative), it is made to appear that our knowledge 
of God is made up of a composite of mutually inde- 
pendent attributes, and hence that the object himself 
of this knowledge is a composite being. In this way 
the unity of the religious life in mankind is destroyed 
because the nature of the religion each individual 
enjoyed is made to depend upon that special attribute 
of the divine nature to which he subjects himself. 

Instead of such "natural" or "rational" theology, 
we must found our science upon the simple funda- 
mental feeling of absolute dependence which (since 
man is receptive in this experience) furnishes us with 
the divine causality as the principle of dogmatics. 
Hence the attributes that may be ascribed to God 
will be those which express the various ways in which 
the feeling of absolute dependence is referred to God 
as the absolute causality. We necessarily posit abso- 
lute causality in God as that from which the feeling 
of absolute dependence is the reflection in our self- 
conscionsncss. There are various modifications of 
this feeling, that is, it is referred to God in various 
ways ; and hence arises the necessity of positing in 
God attributes which correspond to the various ways 
of referring the fundamental religious feeling to God. 
Now these modifications arise from our relation to the 


universally interrelated totality of Nature in which 
we are. The range of our experience (or of the 
consciousness of our relations) is limited to this 
world, and hence the feeling of absolute dependence 
is experienced only within the world-whole (world- 
order) and through it. That is to say, for lis the ab- 
solute divine causality finds its full expression in the 
totality of the forces of Nature. But since, on the 
other hand, our interrelations with the world-whole 
itself furnish us the feeling of relative freedom and 
relative dependence toward it, whereas along with the 
world we are absolutely dependent on God, our relation 
to God is the antithesis of our relation to the world ; 
that is to say, the infinite, divine causality and finite, 
natural causality are antithetical. Hence the divine 
causality as corresponding in range to the totality of 
natural causality may be called the divine Omnipo- 
tence, but as the antithesis of finite and natural causal- 
ity, the divine Eternity. But as these are mutually 
involved, it were better perhaps to say, God is the 
Eternal Omnipotence, or the Omnipotent Eternal. 
The attributes of omnipresence and omniscience are 
simply another way of saying the same thing, through 
a comparison with the finite. 

To carry out more fully the comparison with the 
finite, we may represent the absolute divine causality 
from the religious standpoint as follows : 

I. God is eternal — that is: because no moment of 
time can be disconnected with God, the religious con- 
sciousness relates the world to God as the power 


which, itself out of time, conditions all that is tem- 
poral and time itself. This is more than to say that 
God is without beginning and without end. 'Tm- 
mortability" adds nothing to this conception and is 

2. God is omnipresent — that is : the religious spirit, 
because it admits no place in the whole world to be 
destitute of a religious stimulus, declares that the 
causality of God is absolutely unspatial but conditions 
all that is spatial and space itself. It cannot be said 
that there is a difference in the degree of his presence 
in different places, as, e.g., the spirit of man compared 
with dead forces; the only difference is in the recep- 
tivity of various existences. "Immensity" is objec- 
tionable, for it imports spatiality into the being of 

3. God is almighty — that is : the articulated totality 
of nature with its universal connection of causes and 
effects is grounded in the infinite causality of God and 
is a perfect expression of it, and consequently all actu- 
ally happens to which there exists a causality in God. 
What has not happened could not have happened. To 
make a distinction between the actual and the possible, 
or between God's power and God's will is to create 

4. God is omniscient — that is : the divine omnipo- 
tence is to be conceived as absolute spirituality. We 
cannot speak of the divine perception, experience, 
comprehension, or vision, for these involve a sensuous 


element and therefore put God within antithesis. To 
ascribe contemplation, memory, foreknowledge, medi- 
ate and immediate knowledge, or pure thought to God 
in doctrinal statement is open to the same objection : 
they transfer human activities to God and implicate 
him in human imperfection. His causality is living, 
absolutely spiritual. He relates himself to the object 
of knowledge in an eternal omnipresent way. As God 
knows every individual in the whole, so he knows the 
whole in every individual thing. 


Unity, infinity, and simplicity are commonly 
classed with the four above-named attributes of God, 
but they can be admitted only if they possess dog- 
matical content. 

a) As to unity. — Numerical unity is an attribute 
of nothing; the unity of existence and essence, like 
that of the individuals and the species, belongs to 
speculative thought. For the religious consciousness 
the expression "unity of God" signifies that the unity 
of all pious excitations is given with the same cer- 
tainty as these excitations themselves. Accordingly 
unity is not so much a single attribute as it is the mono- 
theistic canon which underlies all investigation into 
the divine attributes and is as little capable of proof 
as the divine existence itself. 

b) As to infinity. — This means negation of limi- 
tation. To predicate infinity of God amounts to a 
precaution against attributing anything to God which 


can be thought under limitation, and thus it is only 
mediately an attribute of all divine attributes. 

c) As to simplicity. — It is used to negate mate- 
riality in God, to exclude the idea of parts or combina- 
tion in him, in short, divine participation in anything 
whereby we designate the finite as such. As infinity 
is an attribute of all attributes, so simplicity expresses 
only the unseparated and inseparable mutual involu- 
tion of all divine attributes and activities. As infinity 
guards against the predication of anything in God 
that is thought within limits, so simplicity is a pre- 
caution against attributing to God anything which 
essentially pertains to the sphere of antithesis 

Section 3. Doctrine of the World. The Nature of the 
World, Which Is Implied in the Religious Self- 
Consciousness, so Far as It Expresses 
the Universal Relation between 
God and the World 

Since the religious consciousness expresses a rela- 
tion between God and the world, it implies a religious 
view of the world-constitution. The doctrinal state- 
ment which describes that view will be the answer 
to the following question: If the consciousness of 
absolute dependence on God arises only in connection 
with the world, how must the religious self -conscious- 
ness view the world which excites this experience? 
Consequently, such a doctrine of the world is not to 
be confounded with a scientific account of it or to 


be considered as a rival thereto, since the latter pro- 
ceeds by objective perception and ratiocination. 

The religious principle is an essential and universal 
element in human nature, but this principle never 
comes into consciousness except under the influence 
of impressions received from the world, of which hu- 
man nature is an integral part. Further, that the 
God-consciousness be connected with every experience 
is a demand upon our nature; consequently every 
world-impression must be capable of exciting the 
religious feeling. Otherwise the God-consciousness 
would be only a contingent feature of human existence, 
and God's eternal, living omnipotence would be unable 
to obtain expression in the world. That is to say, if 
all finite being as it affects our consciousness is refer- 
able to the eternal almighty Causality, the world must 
be such a world that every impression it makes upon 
us tends to produce in us the religious feeling. In 
other words, the religious consciousness presupposes 
the original (i.e., independent of special circum- 
stances) perfection of the zuorld. This is not to be 
understood as the equivalent of a doctrine of a definite 
condition of the world, past, present, or future, but 
it refers to the permanent ever self-identical relations 
which underlie all historical events. Such a perfection 
is ideal, never provable, and never demonstrably 
realized, but for our consciousness it is necessarily 
postulated as the presupposition of all world-history. 
The world-history is the developing, but ever incom- 
plete, manifestation of that perfection. 


But the self-consciousness is not exhausted in that 
identity with the world of which we are aware in 
our consciousness of dependence, along with the world, 
on God; for in self-consciousness we also recognize 
the antithesis between ourselves and the world. Hence 
a religious view of the world involves, besides a doc- 
trine of the original perfection of the world, a doctrine 
of the original perfection of man. 

I. The Original Perfection of the World 
Since this original perfection of the world is a 
postulate of the self-consciousness, it can be a doctrine 
of the world, not as it is in itself, but only as related 
to man, the religious being. The relations between 
man and the W'Orld are twofold — each acts upon, and 
is acted upon by, the other. The perfection of the 
world in relation to man is therefore likewise twofold: 
(i) By means of the human physical frame, which 
both unites him to the world and becomes the organ 
of his spirit in relation to the world, it affects him on 
the real side ; and on the ideal side it presents itself as 
knowable by him, and thus furnishes to him every- 
where and at all times incitements to activity ; it both 
supplies to him sensation and stimulates his powers 
of knowledge. (2) As receptive of man's activity 
and through the physical organism which is operated 
by his activity, the world offers itself to man as the 
organ of his self-expression; and as he thus extends 
his dominion over it more and more, it awakens in 
him the consciousness of the divine causality as that 
of which his own is an image. 


Note. — This doctrine of the original perfection of the world 
is to be distinguished from that doctrine of the world which 
represents the present world as the best out of many possible 
worlds, and as well from that of a former condition of the 
world which has passed away and has been changed into the 
present imperfect world. The former is the product of rational- 
istic speculation ; since the time of Leibnitz particularly, it has 
been assigned a place in so-called natural or rational theology. 
It is not a product of the religious consciousness, and it at- 
tributes to God such anthropomorphic conceptions as mediate 
knowledge and alternative choice. The latter doctrine has 
sprung from the narrative in Genesis and the legendary lore 
of many peoples; it appears in the story of a prehistoric goldejt 
age. On the one hand, as bare history, it could have no dog- 
matical importance ; and, on the other hand, it destroys the 
entirety of the divine control and preservation of the world, 
and so is prejudicial against the religious feeling. 

2. The Original Perfection of Man 

As the original perfection of the world is perceived 
only in reference to man, so the original perfection of 
man is here considered only in reference to God. The 
God-consciousness appears in the feeling of absolute 
dependence. This feeling of absolute dependence, 
as has been said before, occurs always in connection 
with the sensuous consciousness; the tendency to the 
God-consciousness thus appears as a condition in- 
separable from human nature, because this tendency 
is experienced in the character of a demand upon 
human nature to rise to that state in which the human 
soul is conscious of communion with God. Now^ piety 
(religion) consists in this, that we are conscious of 


this tendency as a living impulse issuing from our 
very nature and constitutive of it in the sense that the 
destruction of this impulse would be the destruction 
of our nature. Therefore those states which condition 
and are involved in the appearing of the God-con- 
sciousness throughout the whole life of man after 
the spiritual (mental) functions are developed, must 
be essentially involved in human nature. Hence it 
must be possible for man so to govern the world and 
appropriate it to the aim of his life that all the im- 
pressions he receives from it, whether they offer 
hindrances or helps to his life, whether they are 
transformed into intellectual cognitions or merely af- 
fect his sensuous nature in feeling, may be so brought 
into connection with the God-consciousness that it 
dominates them all. 

But besides this inner impulse to arrive at the reali- 
zation of the God-consciousness, and inseparable from 
it, there is an impulse to externalize this religious feel- 
ing, that is, to communicate to others that same re- 
ligious feeling; and this is the same as to establish a 
communion (association) among men based upon 
that religious feeling. With this impulse is involved 
the adaptability of human nature to circulate and ap- 
propriate the religious consciousness. In short, the 
self-consciousness, which is fundamentally religious, 
by development necessarily becomes a race-conscious- 
ness, and the possibility of this is grounded in human 
nature itself. Out of this original perfection of human 
nature proceeds the possibility of the propagation of 


a specific religious experience, i.e., the possibility of 
founding a religious communion. 

But as to the degree in which the religious con- 
sciousness has been developed in particular men, that 
is a matter for the historian and not for the dogma- 
tician. Accordingly all that dogmatics may predicate 
of primitive man is : since religion is a necessary and 
universal element of human nature, it must have ex- 
isted in primitive man to the extent that he was able 
to communicate it to posterity. Religion must be as 
old as the human race. When, however, men speak 
of an "original righteousness" in Adam, they make 
the mistake of taking as a type of righteousness a 
mere original capacity for development out of which 
no positive gain came to mankind since, according to 
the common view, that "righteousness" was lost ; 
whereas, the true manifestation of righteousness is 
to be sought in Christ, in whom it came as a gain to 
all mankind. Summarily then, original perfection 
pertains to human nature, in that man possesses the 
original capacity of connecting all his experiences 
with God, that he is capable of propagating that same 
religious attitude to all men, and that all men are 
consequently capable of receiving it (§§ 57-61). 

II. The Antithesis in the Religious Self- 
Consciousness (§§ 62-169) 


There is no self-conscious human existence from 
which the God-consciousness is entirely absent, yet 


there is no human existence in which this rehgious 
feeling constitutes the whole of experience. The 
sensuous consciousness and the God-consciousness are 
always combined in some relation to each other. In 
one case they are so related as to produce an experience 
of pain, in the other so as to produce pleasure. The 
former is the pre-Christian state. In it religious feel- 
ing has not attained an ascendancy in the activities 
of life; the God-consciousness is not extinct, but re- 
pressed, not entirely wanting, but dominated by sensu- 
ous experience. In relation to the God-consciousness 
our condition is that of dissatisfaction or pain. 

In the Christian religion, as teleological in charac- 
ter, all experience is judged by its relation to the activi- 
ties of life. Accordingly, when the Christian looks 
back to his former state, just described, he regards 
the repression of the God-consciousness in himself 
as proceeding from his own act and not from an ex- 
ternal source; from his present point of view religious 
feeling in him was subjected to sensuous experience 
by his own act of alienation from God; that is, he 
is conscious of it as sin. 

But now in relation to the God-consciousness his 
experience is one of enjoyment, pleasure, satisfaction. 
The God-consciousness has now come to its rightful 
position of supremacy in the activities of life, and 
sensuous experiences are subjected to it. He has 
entered into communion with God. And this turning; 
to God it is impossible for him to refer to his own 
activity, for alienation from God is his own original 


act, and if the turning to God were to be referred to 
the same, then the repression of the reHgious feeling 
would be only occasional, and the consciousness of 
the need of redemption would be only contingent. 
But it is a fact of Christian experience that the domi- 
nancy of the God-consciousness is ascribed to a source 
outside of one's self, it is a redemption; and this re- 
demption is viewed as an arrangement by the will of 
God, so that faith in it is a harmony with God's will. 
Communion with God is the effect of a communica- 
tion proceeding from Jesus Christ. He is Redeemer 
in that the control of the activities of life by the God- 
consciousness is referred to his act. There is no 
universal God-consciousness without a reference to 
Christ, nor a relation to Christ which is not referred 
to the God-consciousness. This is what is meant by 
the Christian consciousness of Grace — communion with 
God dependent on a communication from the Re- 

Consequently, redemption involves the conscious- 
ness of sin and the consciousness of grace. These 
two essential elements of Christian experience are to 
be understood only in relation to one another. This 
antithesis in experience never disappears though it 
is true that the former element, by means of the latter, 
continually diminishes. As in the pre-Christian state 
the God-consciousness was not extinct but subjected 
to sensuous control, so now in the state of grace the 
consciousness of sin is not extinct but is steadily 
diminished as the energies of life become increasingly 


pervaded by the religious consciousness. Doctrines 
which are specifically Christian must be drawn from 
the Christian religious consciousness, from the inner 
experience of Christians. Dogmatics has to do only 
with this Christian view of sin and grace and does 
not attempt to construe them in a cosmological, his- 
torical, or speculative way. With sin as a world- 
element, or with conditions antecedent to the appearing 
of sin or subsequent to its disappearance, or with sin 
as a metaphysical principle our discipline has nothing 
to do, because these lie outside the sphere of the re- 
ligious self-consciousness. Our doctrine of sin must 
be of sin in relation to grace, and our doctrine of the 
world, of men, and of God in relation to sin, must be 
determined by the Christian consciousness of the rela- 
tion between sin and grace (§§62-64). 

The framework in which the doctrines of sin and 
grace are to be exhibited will be the same as in Part 
I, and for a similar reason. 


If it be attempted to set forth a doctrine of sin 
in and for itself, such a doctrine could not form a 
consistent whole with that, already exhibited, of the 
religious consciousness in general. First, as man's 
own act it would appear contradictory to the tendency 
to the development of the God-consciousness as a 
living impulse in man, and inconsistent with the origi- 
nal perfection of human nature. Second, since in the 


state of sin a man exists in his place within the world- 
whole, then sin, as not proceeding from the divine 
causality, would destroy the unity and integrity of 
Nature, because it would be an entity existing in oppo- 
sition to the divine omnipotence. Third, if it be 
referred to the divine causality, then that attribute 
which represents the divine causality in relation to sin 
must be out of harmony with other divine attributes, 
and so the unity of the divine nature would be de- 
stroyed. Finally, if sin has developed in man on 
occasion of receiving impressions from the world, the 
perfection of the world in relation to man is destroyed. 
If, therefore, we are to avoid both the Manichaean 
and Pelagian heresies, which in opposite ways denied 
the reference of sin to the divine causality, the Chris- 
tian consciousness must be viewed in its unity, and 
sin must he considered only in reference to redemption, 
and only so can it have a place in dogmatics. 

Section i. Sin as the State of Man (§§<5<5-74) 

The method adopted in this work requires that 
sin be treated from the standpoint of the personal 
consciousness. Sin and the consciousness of sin are 
not to be separated. It is an experience of the God- 
consciousness being hindered by sensuousness from 
controlling the activities of life and it is expressed in 
a feeling of pain, dissatisfaction. But no activities of 
life, not even those which are governed by the im- 
pulses of religion, are without the appearing of sin 
in consciousness, at least in germ, in some way — 


warning, presentiment, self-reproof, regret. And so 
we may say that in all the stages of human develop- 
ment, if we except the states of innocency and ob- 
duracy, a strife exists between the lower impulses 
and the higher — a struggle of flesh and spirit against 
each other. 

Thus sin is a historical phenomenon in human 
consciousness and pertains to all peoples and ages. 
Its appearance indeed is the outcome of the perpetua- 
tion in some degree of an earlier sensuous state in 
which the higher functions of human nature had not 
yet been differentiated. Now, were the development 
of the capacities of human nature regular and un- 
broken, there would be no consciousness of the re- 
pression of the higher spiritual nature by the lower 
and sensuous; if the normal unfolding of the judg- 
ment were always accompanied by a parallel develop- 
ment of the powers of will, then there would be no 
consciousness of the control of spirit by flesh, no con- 
sciousness of sin, or, to state it in equivalent terms, 
no sin. But as a matter of fact judgment and will- 
power are unevenly developed. Of that we are 
conscious as sin, and this very sin-consciousness is 
conditioned by the presence of the higher, the re- 
ligious, consciousness. Therefore sin does not annul 
the original perfection of man. But for that original 
perfection there could be no sin. Sin is conditioned 
by the very capacity for the development of the God- 
consciousness : a bad conscience would be an impos- 
sibility but for the persistent consciousness of a 


something better. Yet it is the outcome of his former 
undeveloped sensuous state before the God-conscious- 
ness appeared. 

But, on the other hand, sin is not conformable with 
that original perfection of human nature. Were it 
so, i.e., were it only a consciousness which we have 
of good, yet lacking when individual acts and states 
are held in mind, sin would be unavoidable. But this 
would be incompatible with the redemption, for we 
may feel the need of redemption and may be capable 
of receiving it only in case sin is unavoidable. There- 
fore the defect of will-power in comparison with the 
judgment must be viewed as a confusion and damage 
produced in our nature. And since it is the Christian 
redemption which gives validity to the consciousness 
of sin (for sin is only in relation to redemption), the 
clear and full consciousness of sin cannot arise out 
of the precepts of the law, but from the appearing 
in history of a God-consciousness which developed to 
an absolute strength, i.e., from the manifestation in 
history of a sinlessly developed human perfection, 
which is seen in the person of the Redeemer. If this 
had not appeared in him, there could be no hope that 
it could ever appear in us. 

While, however, it is true that we come to a 
consciousness of sin in connection with personal activi- 
ties and as our own act, when the self-consciousness 
widens itself from the individual to the family, from 
the family to the state, and from the state to the race 
(for the self-consciousness in its widest range is a 


race-consciousness), the race-consciousness is seen to 
involve a sin-consciousness. Hence the final ground 
of sin is to be found, beyond the individual personal 
consciousness, in the race. Accordingly sin is to be 
considered first, as hereditary, and second, as em- 
pirical or actual. 

I. Hereditary Sin 
There is, then, a sinfulness already present in 
every man before he commits acts of sin, and coming 
from a source beyond his own individual existence. 
But in what does this sinfulness consist? It must 
consist in a relation to the possession of the God- 
consciousness as the good of man. It is not, there- 
fore, something of positive nature in itself, but a 
defect consisting in a total inability to bring the activi- 
ties of one's nature under the control of the religious 
feeling. Not that a total incapacity in relation thereto, 
and so a total absence of all good, is thereby presup- 
posed, for the redemption and the preaching of it 
imply such a capacity as the indispensable condition 
of its effectuation, and without it salvation would be 
such a total remaking of human nature as would 
render redemption unmeaning; or, were it impossible 
to remove that inability entirely, sin would be some- 
thing infinite in itself and the redemption impossible. 
That capacity to receive the God-consciousness is, then, 
not a good in itself, but a good in relation to the re- 
demption and, as we shall see, the product of it; and 
so it cannot be reckoned in any sense as personal 
righteousness. That good in human nature is, how- 


ever, only receptive, and human activity cannot supply 
to that capacity a positive good. 

But can there be personal guilt in relation to that 
which comes from beyond the individual himself? Not 
if this original sinfulness be sundered from connection 
with the actual sins in which it appears and be viewed 
as a something existing in itself. But that w^ould re- 
move it beyond the range of Christian piety (which is 
ever teleological), and therefore beyond the range of 
dogmatics. The guilt of sin is the individual's because 
the act of sin is his, but the guilt is not the isolated 
individual's, for the individual cannot be isolated. The 
self-consciousness in its full significance is a race- 
consciousness. The whole race is a unity, the con- 
stituent members of which propagate their activity 
everywhere and at all times. Every individual act 
of sin is, on the one hand, caused by other sins and, 
on the other hand, causative of other sins, it is both 
propagated by antecedent sinfulness and propagates 
sinfulness. The consciousness of sinfulness is a com- 
mon, universal consciousness. The individual thus 
represents the whole race both in space and time; his 
act is the act of the race and his guilt a race guilt. 
(This is the truth which is relatively described in 
the common theological terms, reatiis, corruptio 
naturae, vitiuni originis, morbus originis, etc.) 

From the standpoint of the self -consciousness 
widened to a race-consciousness, the race-conscious- 
ness is a sin-consciousness. Yet the tendency to the 
God-consciousness is never wanting and the effort 


to realize it never vanishes. In this effort conjoined 
with a sense of helpfuhiess against the power of the 
flesh, there arises an anticipation of help coming from 
without — of redemption. As the guilt is a race-guilt, 
so we shall see the redemption is a race-redemption. 

But the common doctrine that universal sinfulness 
in the race is the product of an alteration of human 
nature effected by an act of our first parents cannot 
be accepted. For if Adam's nature before the fall 
were different from his nature afterward and from 
universal human nature now; then, in the first place, 
the unity of the race would be destroyed and there 
could be no race-consciousness; and, in the second 
place, it involves the impossible assumption that an 
individual can so operate upon his own nature and 
that of all succeeding generations as to destroy it. 
The impossibility of accounting in this way for the 
change appears in the attempts of theologians to ac- 
count for the first sin by attributing it to unbelief, 
pride, lust, ambition, etc., all of which presuppose it. 
And this failure is inevitable since no individual can 
act from outside his own nature, but only within it. 
Or else such attempts involve the assumption of a 
hopelessly bad being, the devil, and so lead to Mani- 
chaeism. We cannot accept the unity of the race 
except on the ground of a common consciousness. 
Consequently Adam's nature was related to his own 
sin in the same way as our nature to our sin. The 
derivation of our sinfulness from a first individual 
act of sin committed by our first parents can never 


be an element of our redemption- faith, and a natural 
and unprejudiced exegesis of those passages of Scrip- 
ture which are supposed to support that view will 
yield no such result. (See Rom. 5:12-21; I Cor. 
15:21, 22; II Cor. II :3.) The same is true of the 
Traducianist and the Covenant theory. The Mosaic 
narrative cannot be viewed as a historical account of 
the first act of sin; its value lies in its universally 
representative character. Wherefore the inborn sin- 
fulness must have existed in the race from the very 
commencement. Apart from this there could be no 
universal capacity for redemption. "Sin in general 
and especially 'original sin' is the joint act and the 
joint-guilt of the whole race" (§§ 70-72). 

2. Actual Sin 

That hereditary sin is ever breaking forth in actual 
sin is an expression of the Christian consciousness. 
For first, the clearness with which we perceive that 
we are never free from sin is proportioned to the 
clearness with which the Redeemer is presented to our 
self-consciousness; and second, our consciousness of 
sin is not empirical or contingent, but universal 
and necessary. That is, it is not as isolated individuals 
we are conscious of sinning, but as a constituent part 
of the totality of mankind, and hence we are as cer- 
tain that others constantly commit sin as we are of 
our own sinning. Thus the consciousness of universal 
sinfulness and of universal sinning are the same viewed 
from different points; were they really separable, our 


tendency to sin would be nothing actual, and our 
sinning would be traceable to external influences. 
Consequently, within the whole range of sinful hu- 
manity no activity is ever exerted in which the God- 
consciousness is pure and unopposed, and there is no 
form of sin which any man in himself is incapable of 

Apart from their relation to the redemption, there 
are no distinctions of worthiness among men in re- 
spect to sin, all appearances to the contrary notwith- 
standing. When, for example, one man appears better 
than another on the ground of possessing a more 
powerful religious consciousness, on the other hand 
he must appear worse, so soon as we consider that the 
actual sins he does commit indicate a stronger opposi- 
tion to the spirit on the part of the flesh. The dispo- 
sition to separate ourselves as better than others 
disappears with a vivid conception of the person of the 
Redeemer, for with it we become vividly conscious 
of our implication in the universal sinfulness and 
equally conscious that the Redeemer stands out of 
connection with it. But there is a distinction between 
men according as they partake of the Redeemer's God- 
consciousness or are destitute of it. In all men the 
God-consciousness and the sin-consciousness so exist, 
only in the case of the redeemed the God-conscious- 
ness gradually prevails over the sin-consciousness, 
rendering all the activities of the nature good ; while 
in the case of the unredeemed the case is the reverse. 
Hence the sins of the redeemed are pardonable because 


they are the reaction from a sinful state whose power 
is diminishing and finally to disappear, and therefore 
they tend not to multiply or to reproduce themselves 
in other people ; while with the sins of the unredeemed 
the case is the reverse. With the former good works 
are prevalent, while their sins are, as it were, the 
shadows of the sins of their earlier state; but with the 
latter sinful works are prevalent, while their good 
deeds are the still remaining, but gradually diminish- 
ing, anticipations of a better state, the reflection only 
of what is a living power in others (§§ 73-75). 

Section 2. The Nature of the World in Relation to Sin: 
Doctrine of Evil (§§ 75-78) 

Since a doctrine of the world has a place in dog- 
matics only in so far as regards the world's relations 
to man, there can be no discussion here of sin as af- 
fecting the constituent elements of the world, but only 
of the relations which exist between man and the 
world on account of sin. Those relations may be 
comprehended in the two statements : that on account 
of sin the world appears different to man, and that the 
effect of sin is to destroy the original harmony between 
man and the world. According to the doctrine, al- 
ready set forth, of the original perfection of man and 
of the world, human life is not opposed or hindered 
in the exefcise of its energies by the forces of nature, 
but all that is in the world in its operation upon hu- 
man nature, even when it produces weakness, sickness, 
and death, must be promotive of the higher conscious- 


ness, the religious life. But whenever in experience 
the flesh prevails over the spirit (i.e., when sin enters 
into the life) then these things appear as opposed to 
the development of human energies, that is, they ap- 
pear as evil. In this respect we may speak of natural 
evil in the world. But evil is also social (a preferable 
expression to "moral" evil, which includes the bad) 
in that the operations of sin in one individual become 
productive of evil to others. Thus sin and evil are 
correlated. The human race is the locus of sin; sin 
is, in its totality, the act of the race. Correspondingly, 
the whole world in relation to men is the locus of evil 
and evil in its totality constitutes the suffering of the 
entire race. 

Sin and evil are therefore related to each other as 
cause and effect. To reverse this relation and make 
evil the cause of sin is to contradict the teleological 
nature of Christianity, to turn ethic into aesthetic, 
and to deny the Christian conception of God. Evil 
is the effect, and, as referred to the divine causality 
(for it cannot be referred to the operation of any 
being or force outside of God), the punishment of 
sin — social evil, immediately, on account of the di- 
rectness of men's relations to one another, and natural 
evil, mediately. But this is incapable of application 
to the individual in his isolation from the rest of 
mankind. For as sin, properly understood, is the act 
of the race in its entirety, and as the guilt is a race- 
guilt, so also evil in its totality is the punishment of 
the race in its unity. Otherwise the true conception 


of the relation between sin and evil would be found 
in that of heathenism, and, in a degree, of Judaism — 
namely, that magical view which represents suffering 
and misfortune as punishment for the individual's 
sins — which would make vicarious suffering an im- 

Se lion j. The Attributes of God Which are Related to 
the Consciousness of Sin (§§7p-55) 

In the religious consciousness all experience is 
referred to the absolute causality of God; therefore 
sin and evil as elements of that consciousness imply 
divine attributes which are comprehended in the divine 
causality or omnipotence. For us sin exists as a uni- 
versal fact of consciousness. Therefore there is a 
sense in which God is the author of sin; but, on the 
other hand, in the Christian consciousness sin and 
grace are antithetical, and therefore, if there is not 
an antithesis within the divine nature, God cannot 
be the author of sin in the same sense in which he is 
the author of grace. 

Now it has been shown that neither sin nor grace 
exists in and for itself but each only in relation to 
the other; both are implicated in redemption. The 
solution of the difficulty in connection with the refer- 
ence of sin to God cannot, therefore, be found by mak- 
ing a distinction between God's permission and God's 
decree, for these are equivalent to his preservation 
and creation, which for the religious consciousness 
are the same. But the solution is found thus : In 


redemption there is the consciousness of special di- 
vine communication in regard to sin — a communica- 
tion of power to overcome it. But with the reception 
of this communication the sin-consciousness does not 
disappear instantaneously, but only gradually, and 
therefore to our actual experience never entirely. It 
is, therefore, God's will that sin should gradually be 
banished through grace, but this is to say that it is 
God's will that sin should exist (for us, not for him), 
else the redemption could not occur. So that the 
conclusion of the matter is : God is the author of sin, 
but the author of sin only in the sense that it should' 
exist as gradually disappearing in the presence of 

The Pelagian attempts at a solution by attributing 
sin and grace, as regards the exertion of energy in 
them, to man alone, abandons a practical (ethico- 
religious) interest, which postulates the impartation 
of a perfectly pure moral impulse, in the divine om- 
nipotence to a theoretical interest, which advocates 
a similar relation to God on the part of all forms of 
living activity; for the denial of the operation of divine 
causality in redemption makes the redemption a mere 
seeming. The Manichaeans, on the contrary, sacrifice 
the theoretical interest to the practical by confining 
the exercise of divine causality to grace and denying 
it to sin (which supposes the operation of another 
will independently of the divine and limiting its opera- 
tion), so that the feeling of absolute dependence, and 
with it, the absolute divine causality, is lost. 


Hence if we are not, with the Manichaeans, to as- 
cribe to sin an existence in itself, independent and op- 
posed to God ; or, with the Pelagians, to minimize and 
gradually annul the antithesis of sin and grace, the ec- 
clesiastical doctrine that God is not the author of sin 
but that it is founded in human freedom, needs 
amendment. For while it is true that every act of 
sin is the definite act of the individual himself and 
is neither to be charged to a nature which is common 
to all men nor to other individuals, yet human free- 
dom, to be real, must be grounded in the divine causal-, 
ity, and consequently human sin, if it be mere 
appearance, must have the same ground. The con- 
sciousness of sin, and therefore sin itself, pertains to 
the truth of our existence — but only in relation to 
redemption. The consciousness of sin is the conscious- 
ness of an opposition to the divine will that is to be 
removed. These conditions, namely, that the God- 
consciousness is to be developed in men through the 
gradual annulling of an opposition in man to the 
divine will, have themselves been appointed by God. 
For an absolute contradiction to the will of God, i.e., 
absolute obduracy, does not pertain to human ex- 
istence. That is, God has ordered sin as that which 
makes the redemption necessary. Sin is ordered of 
God because otherwise the redemption also could not 
be ordered of him, and, therefore, not sin in-and-for- 

itself, but sin in reference to the redemption It 

is ordered of God that natural imperfections should be 
apprehended by us as evil in the measure in which the 


God-consciousness is not yet dominant in us (82:2). 
Or, if we may distinguish between God's commanding 
will which requires the absolute control of all energies 
by the religious feeling, and God's producing will, in 
accordance with which the power of the God-con- 
sciousness is only gradually realized and therefore 
always defective in actuality, then we may say, God 
has ordered that that defect in the lordship of the 
spirit over the flesh should be sin to us, i.e., that it 
should produce in us a consciousness of the need of 

From this the doctrine of evil follows naturally. 
Sin being the joint guilt of the race, evil is its joint 
punishment. Evil is thus produced by human free- 
dom, but is grounded ultimately in the divine causality. 
But evil is not in-and-for-itself, but only in reference 
to sin, as sin also is only in reference to the redemp- 
tion. Consequently evil becomes a source of a stimulus 
to the consciousness of the need of redemption. Other- 
wise evil would seem to be joined to sin by arbitrary 
divine determination. 

Since all divine attributes must be viewed as modes 
of the divine causality, and sin and evil are ultimately 
grounded in the divine causality, the divine attributes 
which correspond with sin and evil will be the divine 
holiness and righteousness. 

/. God is Holy 

Those actions which flow from the God-conscious- 
ness possess such a worth in our self-consciousness 


that every deviation from them in action is appre- 
hended as a limitation of life, i.e., as sin. The activity 
of the self-consciousness as the apprehension of this 
inequality of judgment and will is what we mean by 
conscience. Without this inequality there would not 
be conscience, and without conscience the acts which 
result from this inequality would not be sin. Sin 
therefore, as the universal human state of the need of 
redemption, implies the activity of conscience in all 
mankind. This is the purely Christian expression of 
the need of redemption, but it is in nowise to be under- 
stood as if we would admit the existence of conscience 
only when the need of redemption is acknowledged. 
To put it differently: implicated in the consciousness 
of sin by conscience is the apprehension of the divine 
causality as legislative for all mankind ; this legislative 
divine causality is what we mean by holiness ; holiness 
in God is that attribute whose reflection is conscience 
in man. The usual and popular definition of holiness 
in the liturgical and homiletical field to the effect that 
it is the divine pleasure in the good and displeasure 
with the bad, assuming as it does that "good" and 
"bad" are to be understood as the actions of finite 
free beings, is open to the objection that it implies 
passivity in God, and since a state of God is thus de- 
termined by human actions he is placed in a relation 
of reciprocity with men. Such a static attribute of 
God is no predicate of our religious consciousness 


2. God is Righteous 

Similarly the righteousness of God is that attribute 
which corresponds to our consciousness of the con- 
nection between actual sins and evil. Evil is indeed 
the efifect of the universal sinfulness, as has been 
shown ; but evil is apprehended as evil, i.e., as punish- 
ment of sin, only in and with the consciousness of 
actual sin. But with this consciousness of actual sin 
is involved the universal sinfulness of man and hence 
universal desert of punishment in man. Hence the 
divine righteousness is the divine causality appre- 
hended as producing in the human soul the conscious- 
ness of the desert of punishment. And as the idea of 
desert of punishment, or the idea of evil as necessarily 
connected with sin, has meaning only in reference to 
the redemption, so also it is only in reference to the 
redemption that the divine righteousness is fully to 
be understood. If it be objected that this definition 
makes no room in the idea of righteousness for the 
reward of well doing, among other things we may 
say in reply that the Christian consciousness admits 
no actual rewards but regards all rewards as unde- 
served and therefore referable to the divine grace. 

Our exposition brings out the truth that the divine 
holiness and righteousness cohere but at the same 
time are differentiated (§§ 84, 85). 



While the consciousness of sin is a personal ex- 
perience, it relates not merely to the individual but 
embraces the collective life of mankind. It is as a 
member of the body of humanity, as a participant in 
its common life, that he is conscious of sin and un- 
blessedness. To this universal condition testify the 
confessions, offerings, purifications, and penances in 
all religions. While these are usually aimed at the 
avoidance of punishment rather than the extinction 
of sin their inevitable failure to remove unhappiness 
amounts to an expression of an inclination toward 
Christianity as that religion in which is found a Re- 
deemer in whom appears the substance instead of the 
shadow. Moral development of the peoples tends 
in the same direction, because with moral progress 
there is a sharpening and intensification of the dis- 
satisfaction connected with moral failure. And 
although for the distinctively Christian consciousness 
there is an acknowledgment of the unavoidability of 
sin and an assurance of its gradual disappearance, 
these convictions are the outcome of the growing 
power of the God-consciousness and are consequently 
accompanied by a more painful sense of the need of 
redemption and of the hopelessness of its removal 
by the personal efforts of men, because these efforts 
must partake of the sinful character of that common 
life of humanity from which they issue. Hence in 


Christianity the pre-eminent worth of redemption and 
the supreme place of the Redeemer. 

The Christian experience of a growing dominancy 
of the God-consciousness and, in the same degree, of 
a growing blessedness, is not owing to any definite 
form of activity or of conditions, such as devout 
meditation or ascetic practices ( for these have content 
of happiness only in so far as they contribute to the 
performance of those activities which one's vocation 
calls for), but it is owing to participation in a new 
community which springs from the divine operation. 
That is to say, the Kingdom of God has come and the 
collective life of this new community constitutes it. 
This new life in men is by faith referred to Jesus 
Christ as its author, which is the same as to say that 
in him the kingdom of God appears. This Christian 
experience has indeed its source in Christ, but it never 
exists apart from the Christian community. The 
acceptance of the former with a denial of the latter 
involves separatism and fanaticism and is destructive 
of the essence of Christianity, because, in supposing 
that an individual could have, as it were, Christ for 
himself alone, it annuls the definite historical continu- 
ity of Christianity and renders an actual propagation 
of the activity of Christ impossible. The reverse atti- 
tude, i.e., the acceptance of the communal character 
of Christianity, with a denial of the necessity of a 
reference to Christ personally, makes his historical 
appearance only a link in a chain of prophets, supposes 
that the new community could arise out of the old 


sinful collective life of humanity, and involves a denial 
of the universality of sin. It is to say, as does the 
Roman Catholic church in effect, that Christ is Re- 
deemer because the church has constituted him such. 
If we ask: In what way specifically is the redemp- 
tion wrought by Christ? the answer is: By an imparta- 
tion of his sinless perfection through the communion 
founded by him. The affirmation that Jesus possessed 
sinless perfection does not admit of proof in the 
ordinary sense. ' The Scripture proof fails because, 
uncertainties of meaning aside, all it can show is that 
this was the original form of Christian faith. The 
proof by reference to miracles and prophecies fails 
because it could only show hozu the primitive Chris- 
tian faith arose and, besides, it is purely external. Our 
proposition is not to be understood as equivalent to an 
assertion that at a time when the consciousness of 
sin both as personal and collective was powerful in 
many men, all that was necessary was that a moral 
pre-eminence should fitly exhibit itself in a public 
life in order to bring about an ascription to such an 
individual of the desired sinless perfection as the only 
possible succor of men. For this is as if it were said 
that faith had constituted Jesus the Redeemer. It 
would involve a gradual diminution of the certainty 
of his value as we become farther removed from the 
original impression of his person, and it would make 
room for the expectation of another to whom that 
perfection might be ascribed more worthily. But our 
meaning is that the acknowledgment of that perfection 



is the work of Jesus himself and that out of that ac- 
knowledgment arises the new collective life which is 
therefore founded by Jesus; the action of this new 
communion reproduces the same faith and is itself 
therefore just the operation within the communion 
of that personal perfection of Jesus. If it be objected 
that an impartation of sinless perfection through a 
body, in every member of which there are manifesta- 
tions of the universal sinfulness, is impossible, the 
answer is: these manifestations are the still remaining 
expression of that collective life which was controlled 
by sin before the new life appeared in the midst of it, 
and the impartation of the absolutely powerful God- 
consciousness in Christ (in the historical Christian 
communion) is as yet inner experience received by an 
impression from without. In regard to this experience 
there are two statements to be made : ( i ) from the 
image of Christ, which subsists in that Christian so- 
ciety with which the individual comes into contact,, as 
its collective act and its collective possession, he re- 
ceives an impression of the sinless perfection of Christ 
which, on the one hand, gives rise to a perfect con- 
sciousness of sin in himself, and. on the other hand, 
removes his unblessedness ; (2) within this Christian 
society, in spite of all its errors and sinful manifesta- 
tions, there is an ever-working inner impulse toward the 
true and good : this is from Christ, and in spite of all 
reactions will ever increasingly manifest itself out- 
wardly. These two elements constitute a true im- 
partation of the perfection of Christ. 


The existence of this inimitable power of the God- 
consciousness in Christ and its operation within the 
human race may be regarded as supernatural or as 
natural, according to the point of view taken. In view 
of the human race constituting a collective life which 
naturally propagates sin, this communication coming 
from a power without it is a supernatural work. But 
in relation to the Redeemer himself the existence of 
this new collective life is no miracle but the normal 
working of that supernatural power in its assumption 
of natural ethical forms and in its appropriation to 
itself of the material surrounding it. Similarly of 
the individual's transition from the old collective life 
into the new; in relation to his former life the change 
is of supernatural origin, because it arises from a 
source beyond that old life; but in respect to the new 
life it is a natural event because it is its normal mode 
of activity. In the initiative divine activity is the 
supernatural, but by virtue of the living human re- 
ceptivity the supernatural takes on historical, natural 
form. But the perfect connection between the old 
stage of human existence and the new stage brought 
in by the advent of the Redeemer lies only in the unity 
of the divine thought. 

Now sin, in and for itself, is non-existent for God 
and no object of his counsel; so also a redemption 
merely in reference to sin can be no object of the 
divine counsel. But since sin consists in the inability 
to realize the God-consciousness, therefore the sin- 


consciousness (which has been shown already to be one 
with sin) as a necessary condition of the receptivity 
of the God-consciousness is a good in relation to the 
highest development of human nature. Without it 
there would have been no living receptivity for the 
impartation of Jesus' gift. Without it that full de- 
velopment of man which appears in the perfect as- 
cendancy of the God-consciousness in the self-con- 
sciousness would not take place ; and hence, redemption 
from sin may be designated as the completion of the 
creation of human nature. But this means that Christ, 
by virtue of that absolutely powerful God-conscious- 
ness which is his original endowment, enters with 
creative power into the course of human history to 
stimulate human nature to a perfect consciousness of 
its sinfulness and to an assimilation of his own per- 
fection. With the bringing of his activity under the 
law of human development there is assured its gradual 
extension over the whole race. And since to the re- 
ligious consciousness creation and preservation are 
at bottom equivalents, we conclude that the whole 
race of man has been ordered and preserved with 
reference to the impartation of the sinless perfection 
of Christ — the whole race from the beginning has a 
relation to the Redeemer. 

The unfolding of the consciousness of grace in the 
same framework as was used for the unfolding of 
the consciousness of sin will accordingly complete 
the dogmatic (§§86-90). 


Section i. The State of the Christian so Far as He Is 
Conscious of Divine Grace (§§91-112) 

In all the various forms of Christianity the funda- 
mental element of every Christian's consciousness of 
grace is that of fellowship with God only in a life- 
fellowship with Christ of such a sort that in our need 
of redemption we are freely receptive to his free self- 
originated activity in the communication of his abso- 
lutely sinless perfection and blessedness. These two 
elements, Christ's activity and our receptivity thereto, 
will yield for us a discussion of the manner in which 
the Redeemer and the redeemed appear in the Chris- 
tian consciousness of grace, in two divisions. In the 
first division will appear those propositions concerning 
Christ which are immediate expressions of this con- 
sciousness of grace; and in the second, those proposi- 
tions zvhich describe the relation hetiveen grace and the 
state of sin in the human soul, as that relation is medi- 
ated by Christ. 

First Division: Doctrine of Christ (§§92-105) 

In the doctrine of Christ we may take our starting- 
point either from his person or from his activity. 
Thes^ are inseparable and each finds in the other its 
full expression. It is in respect of his work that we 
treat him as Redeemer; we set him over against 
all other men in such a way that their conscious 
blessed relation to God is ascribed solely to him 
as the author of it and not in any degree to them- 
selves or others. But this is to ascribe an exclusive 


and absolute dignity to his person. Or, if we regard 
him as the one in whom the creation of human nature 
is perfected, we then ascribe to him a quahty which 
is not the product of his environment, or which he 
owes to the developed insight of those who so regard 
him, but which, on the contrary, is itself the secret of 
their personal development. But this is to assign an 
absolute and exclusive value to his activity. Thus 
his person and his work correspond in value. We are 
not to conceive of a dignity of his person which is 
not fully exhibited in his activity, nor of an exhibition 
of activity which has its spring in any degree outside 
of himself. However, in deference to current eccle- 
siastical formulae, we may treat of his person and of 
his work separately. Our method will be to exhibit 
these, first, as related to the individual, and then, as 
related to the church, which must be the perfect revela- 
tion of the worth of the Redeemer, just as the universe 
is a perfect revelation of the attributes of God. 

/. The Person of Christ 

The Christian communion as a union of men 
produced through participation in a common religious 
life, as a union moreover into which all other religious 
associations are destined to pass, finds that life entirely 
in Christ, and owes the exercise of all its activities 
to him as their source. Accordingly the worth of 
the Redeemer must be so conceived as to account for 
this effect. This religious energy, i.e., the power of 
the God-consciousness, must have existed in him in a 


perfect archetypal form and must have determined 
the character of all the activities of his life, none of 
them being destitute of it or possessing it imperfectly, 
and thus the communion- forming activity of Christ 
is manifested, not in special acts, but in the entire 
course of his career. Since it is in the Christian com- 
munion the activity of Christ is exercised, that com- 
munion must be a perfect embodiment of the energy 
resident in him. 

If it be objected that in the Christian communion 
the religious condition is never absolutely perfect, 
but is ever in need of development, and that, therefore, 
it is not necessarv to attribute to the Redeemer such 
an archetypal character, but only such a character as 
served for the prefiguration of the end which the 
communion ever strives to attain ; and hence that such 
ascriptions of dignity to Christ are only the hyperbole 
of believers, we reply: If this were the case, with the 
widening of the personal self-consciousness to a race- 
consciousness, i.e., so as to include the whole race, 
there must arise a hope and expectation of some time 
surpassing Christ, at least in the case of the noblest 
of its members; but as a matter of fact such a hope 
never has arisen and never could arise without destroy- 
ing that very communion whose development is sup- 
posed to produce the hope; and further, if this 
absolutely perfect religious energy did not exist in 
Christ, it would be impossible to account for the 
possession of such an archetype by the Christian com- 
munion. It can have arisen within the religious 


consciousness in no other way than through the exhi- 
bition of it in a historical, personal life. 

If it be further objected that the imperfect human 
conditions, the unperfected state of language, of sci- 
ence, etc., in which Christ's life was lived, rendered 
the appearing of such an archetype impossible and that 
he must constitute only a link, though an important 
one, in that gradual, continuous religious evolution 
which can be traced from early Jewish life, w^e may 
reply: At that rate Christ would be only a more or 
less original and revolutionary reformer of Jewish 
law and such a new^ communion as has actually arisen 
would be impossible ; and further, since in such a case 
his life could only have been the product of that 
general sinful life of which men universally partake, 
the experience of redemption through him could never 
have occurred and the claim of Christianity finally 
to draw all other religions to itself and to develop 
out of itself ever-increasing perfection and blessed- 
ness could never have arisen. 

The only possible explanation of the appearing of 
Christ in the sphere of human life is that it was a 
miraculous manifestation; his personal spiritual life 
sprang by a creative divine act from the universal 
fountain of spiritual life, so that the idea of man, as 
the subject of the God-consciousness found in him 
historically an absolute realization. Or to state it 
differently : From his birth onward, along with the 
gradual unfolding of his natural powers, the God- 
consciousness possessed absolute control over the en- 


ergies of his being. On the one hand, this makes it 
impossible that there should ever have arisen within 
him the slightest trace of a sin-consciousness or an 
inner moral conflict or uncertainty. On the other 
hand, his physical and mental equipment must have 
been conditioned by the age and the environment, 
otherwise we must attribute to him an empirical om- 
niscience and omnipotence which would be fatal to 
the historical character of his life. Hence the appear- 
ing of Christ in the world was both absolutely miracu- 
lous and perfectly natural. 

The Redeemer, then, possessed sameness of nature 
with all other men. His freedom from sin does not 
annul his perfect identity w^ith the race, since, as we 
have seen, sin does not pertain to the essence {Wesen) 
of man, but is rather a destruction of his nature, as 
is implied in the very consciousness of sin as guilt. 
Yet his activity, or the peculiar personal worth which 
conditioned it, is not thereby compromised or made 
attributable to other men. Faith in Christ implies 
that he held such a relation to the human race as none 
other could have, i.e., owing to the absolute power 
of the God-consciousness in him, his person was arche- 
typal, which is the same as to say that God was present 
in him as a person. 

We cannot speak with truth of the presence of 
God in any individual thing or in man but only of his 
presence in the world. Not in any individual thing, 
for this would imply division in God. Not in man, 
for neither man's activity nor his rational thought in 


its attempts to present a pure and true conception of 
God, is free from sensuousness. Consequently we 
are not able to see in unconscious nature or conscious 
rational life a revelation of God unless zve have first 
seen it in Christ, in whom the God-consciousness was 
present as his own personal being and innermost self. 
And since it is only through him that the God-con- 
sciousness comes to possess others, and since, further, 
it is only in reference to man that the world can be 
said to contain a revelation of God, we can say that 
all revelation of God in man and in the world is medi- 
ated through Christ. 

But if, on the other hand, he shared in common 
with us the whole process of natural human develop- 
ment, yet without being involved in human sin, the 
beginning of his life must be regarded as an original 
act of human nature, i.e., an act of human nature as 
not affected by sin. And thence onward to the com- 
pletion of his life there must have been such a filling 
of his nature with the God-consciousness as completely 
exhausted human receptivity. Therefore we may re- 
gard the beginning of Christ's life as the perfected 
creation of human nature. As the creation of the 
first Adam constituted the self-propagating physical 
nature of man, so the appearing of the second Adam 
constituted for the same human nature its new self- 
propagating spiritual life. Both rest on one indi- 
visible, eternal, divine decree, and they form in the 
higher sense one and the same (though beyond the 
grasp of our thought) coherent unitary Nature. 


Proceeding from this standpoint, the current doc- 
trinal formulae, which in large measure have arisen 
from speculative, apologetic, and polemic interests, 
may be subjected to critical treatment and restatement. 

I. "In Jesus Christ the divine nature and human 
nature were united in one person." The aim of those 
passages in the historic creeds which so describe the 
Redeemer is doubtless to inculcate the possibility of a 
communion between him and us in the new common 
life which he originated, and at the same time to ex- 
press the being of God in him ; from which follows 
that in our relation to him unlimited veneration for 
him and brotherly fellowship with him are combined. 
But the terms of the creedal statement are open to 
criticism : First, the name Jesus Christ is used to desig- 
nate not only the subject of the union of the two natures 
but also the divine nature of the Redeemer before its 
union with the human ; so that the union appears no 
longer as a moment (potency) constituting the person 
Jesus Christ, but rather as the act of this person 
himself. Whereas, in the New Testament the name 
Jesus Christ is used only of the subject of this union. 
Second, the use of the term nature in reference to both 
the divine and the human is confusing. Besides, the 
terms God and nature represent opposite conceptions in 
our thought. Nature properly denotes the sum of finite 
existences, the manifold phenomenal world in contrast 
with the unconditional and the absolutely simple. We 
cannot use the term natural properly of God. The 
creeds betray here the play of heathen ideas. Third, 


the creedal statement implies a relation between nature 
and person opposed to general usage. For while 
usage allows the ascription of the same nature to 
several individuals or persons, here one person has 
two entirely different natures. Now person properly 
denotes a life-unity and nature the general content of 
his modes of action, or the law of the interaction of 
the conditions of Hfe within a definite realm. But 
how can there be a unity of life with a duality of 
natures, especially since one has a large sphere and 
the other a small? Between them the self-identical 
ego is lost. It is impossible for the mind to construe 
the figure of such a person. The outcome is either 
the melting of the two natures into a third, which 
is neither divine nor human, for the sake of maintaining 
the unity of the person; or the separation of the 
natures at the cost of neglecting the person; or the 
subordination of one nature to the other. The history 
of the subject exhibits all these results. Fourth, the 
question whether Christ had two wills is inevitably 
raised. If he had only the human will, then the divine 
nature is abbreviated, or if only the divine, then the 
human nature is abbreviated. But if he had two wills, 
the unity of the person would be unreal ; and, further, 
since understanding and will cannot be conceived as 
independent, the question of the duality of the under- 
standing is involved. Fifth, the formula quoted does 
not harmonize with the same creedal statement of the 
doctrine of the Trinity which abandons the unity of 
person for the sake of unity of "essence." And when 


we ask how the divine "nature" in Christ relates itself 
to the divine "essence," no answer is possible. 

It is evident that the creedal statement carries us 
far away from the religious interest into hair-splitting 
and speculation. Its practical use in the church is 
small indeed. There is here offered as a substitute 
for it the following: The Redeemer is like all men 
in the possession of the same human nature, but dis- 
tinguished from all men through the absolute power 
of the God-consciousness which constituted a personal 
existence of God in him. In him the human was the 
perfect organ for the reception and presentation of 
the divine. All that was human in him came forth 
from the divine. In this sense may be justified the 
statement : In the Redeemer God became man. 

2. "In the uniting of the divine nature with the 
human, the divine alone was active or self-communi- 
cative and the human only passive or receptive, but 
during the continuance of the union every activity was 
common to both." The object in making special men- 
tion of a beginning of Christ's existence was to ex- 
clude the idea of a something subsequently added to 
him — which would be an injury to faith in his per- 
son. But since we are not immediately affected by 
the beginning of his existence the formula involves 
a work of supererogation. Further, the beginning and 
the continuance of Christ's existence constitute a unity. 
The beginning of his personal existence is the begin- 
ning of his activity and every moment (potency) in 
his activity, so far as it can be regarded apart, is at 


the same time a new becoming of his peculiar person- 

The idea that the divine nature took up the human 
into the unity of its person is objectionable, not only 
because of the impropriety of the expression, "divine 
nature," but particularly because it makes the person- 
ality of Christ entirely independent of the personality 
of the second person of the Trinity, with which it is 
nevertheless regarded as identical. The view is not 
distinct from Sabellianism, and it is unfair to all 
those views which approach Sabellianism to connect 
this formula with the doctrine of three persons in one 
essence. Historically a knowledge of the doctrine 
of the Trinity had no connection with that original 
impression of the personality of Christ which pro- 
duced the first disciples' faith or with their appre- 
hension of him in thought. Moreover, since human 
nature can become a person only in the same sense 
in which persons exist in the Trinity, then the three 
persons in the divine essence must be, like human 
persons, separate self-existences, or else the human 
personality of Christ becomes unreal. The Docetism 
of the formula also appears in the putting of the hu- 
man into a passive condition in the beginning of 
Christ's personal existence, which is yet not the case 
with the beginning of any other personal existence. 
But if he was a perfect human person, the formation 
of this person must have been an act of human nature. 
The contradictions inherent in this formula have given 
rise to the scholastic doctrine of the impersonality of 


the human nature of Christ previous to its union 
with the divine, and the doctrine of the supernatural 
generation of Christ. The former, while aimed at 
refuting the view of those who held that the Word was 
united with Christ after he had become a human per- 
sonality, is guilty of making the human in Christ 
less perfect than it is in us. The latter is entangled 
in the difficulties arising from the varying representa- 
tions in the New Testament Scriptures and falls back 
upon a doctrine of the Scriptures. Its dogmatic value 
could be only in relation to the question of hereditary 
sin and the implanting of the divine in human nature. 
Christ's freedom from the universal state of sin would 
not be secured by the exclusion of the male from the 
act of procreation; it would also necessitate absolute 
purity in all the woman's progenitors, and so annul 
the universal sinfulness. The doctrine is connected 
with asceticism. 

That part of the creedal statement .which draws a 
distinction between the divine activity in the act of 
union and the subsequent divine activities treats divine 
activity as temporal and so brings God into the sphere 
of antithesis. All that is meant to be gained in the 
above statement and in the doctrine that the union was 
personal is secured by our statement that the person 
of Christ was the product of an original divine creative 
act the separate momenta of which appeared in his 
human development. In Christ the creation of hu- 
manity was perfected. 

3. "Christ was distinct from all other men through 


his essential sinlessness and his absolute perfection." 
By essential is to be understood that which has 
its ground in the inner character of his personality, 
namely, the conjunction of the divine and the human 
in his person. Inasmuch as liability to temptation 
and error seems to be hereby denied, it is difficult to 
construe the statement in relation to his feelings and 
thoughts without annulling his sameness of nature 
with us. With this doctrine the idea of the natural 
immortality of Christ is connected; it is not, however, 
embodied in any of the symbols of the faith or 
grounded in any biblical passage, but it rests upon the 
opinion that death is the penalty of sin. But, in ac- 
cordance with the view of evil already presented, we 
can accept this idea no farther than to say that for 
Christ death was no evil. His immortality is given 
him in his resurrection. Natural inability to die denies 
natural capacity to suffer. If this doctrine is meant 
to conserve the view of Christ's death as proceeding 
from his own free will, it necessitates a miracle on 
Christ's part so as to make himself mortal in order 
to be killed, and so virtually makes him a suicide. The 
predicate of absolute perfection adds nothing which 
may not be referred to the union of the divine with 
human nature. We may say only this, that just as 
the Redeemer could appear first only at a certain time 
and only from a certain people; so also the divine 
activity would not have laid hold on human nature to 
constitute a human personality by any such act as 
could involve in any way a malformation. In regard 


to his body all that can be posited is that it must have 
been a suitable organ of that union of the divine and 
the human. 

The events of Christ's resurrection and ascension, 
as well as the promise of his return to judgment, are 
to be excluded from forming a part of the doctrine 
of his person, because they do not come into direct 
relation to faith in him nor could such visible events 
have any connection with his elevation to spiritual 
lordship or with his redeeming power ; but they depend 
upon a doctrine of the records. Therefore they cannot 
be an expression of the religious consciousness of 
redemption or represented as constitutive of his re- 
deeming activity. Christ's promised continual pres- 
ence and his continuous influence upon his disciples 
are not mediated by these events, for their faith in 
him was prior to any expectation of such occurrences ; 
so also with many Christians since. The ascension 
served only contingently for the accomplishment of 
the seating at God's right hand, and this, again, is 
only an expression of the peculiar and incomparable 
worth of Christ; and the promise of the return served 
in like manner for the satisfaction of the longing to 
be united with Christ. But the important point is : 
Faith in Jesus has not arisen from particular state- 
ments about Christ or acts of his, but from the total 
impression of his person; from which follows only 
this, that no individual events appear which could 
prevent that faith (§§ 93-99). 


2. The Work of Christ 

It has been pointed out that the dignity of the 
person of Christ and the vaUie of his work are re- 
hgiously equivalents. The worth of his person con- 
sists in the absolute power of the God-consciousness 
in him, as an original possession. However, it pos- 
sesses that worth for us, not as a mere object of our 
contemplation, but because this consciousness is self- 
communicating, and so passes to us. The expression 
and impartation of this God-consciousness is rendered 
possible by the original perfection of man and of the 
world. His work, then, is summed up in his self- 
communication, and it may be regarded either from 
the point of view of the Redeemer's activity, or from 
that of the experience (reception) of it by the re- 
deemed. The latter will be dealt with in the section 
which treats of the manner in which communion with 
the Redeemer is expressed in the soul of the individual. 
The former will be treated here. 

A. The possession by Christ of the God-conscious- 
ness to the degree that it had absolute control of all 
his energies involves his sinless perfection and blessed- 
ness. By the impartation of that God-consciousness 
to men, they obtain a communion with him in that 
perfection and blessedness. That is to say, they obtain 
redemption and reconciliation. 

I ) Redemption. — The personal consciousness of 
the individual is a consciousness of sin and imperfec- 
tion, and all his activities bear that stamp ; but when 
through our relation to Christ we have a participation 


in his consciousness, sin is regarded by us, just as 
it was by him in his sympathy with us, not as consti- 
tuting our fundamental character, but as an ahen ele- 
ment to be overcome. Thus Christ has taken us up 
into a participation in his activity which constitutes 
the state of grace, and henceforward all our activities 
are to be regarded as his activity in us. Or, to state it 
conversely, the advancement of our higher life is the 
act of the Redeemer, now become our personal act. 
This expresses the Christian consciousness of grace. 
The impartation of his God-consciousness to us is 
an act of self-revelation, and our conscious need and 
acceptance thereof is effected in us by his working 
upon us. Now, if the personality of the Redeemer 
is owing to an original creative act of God, so that 
we may say that God was personally present in him 
and that all his activities proceeded from the being of 
God in him, then the penetration of our nature by the 
activity of the Redeemer must likewise constitute the 
being of Christ in us and form us into a new person- 
ality (cf. Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:10; John 17:23; II Cor. 
13:6; Rom. 6:2, 6, 11; I Pet. 2:24; Col. 3:10; Eph. 
4:22, 24). Thenceforth all impressions upon us are 
received differently, our personal self-consciousness 
is new, the man is a new man. And though the new 
man may still be conscious of imperfection and sin, 
these no longer pertain to his inner personality, which 
has become one with Christ; but they pertain to the 
outer relations of his being, so that he counts them 
alien and opposed to his nature. 


And further, since the divine creation had refer- 
ence, not to individuals as such, but to a world and only 
to individuals as related, constituent parts of the whole, 
then the activity of the Redeemer must be world- 
forming, and its object human nature universally, and 
not individuals as such. Thus the whole act of Christ 
in redemption consists in the implanting of the govern- 
ing God-consciousness, in the propagation of the cre- 
ative divine activity, as a new principle of life, in the 
whole of human nature, and all the energies of human 
nature become the organs for the propagation of the 
God-consciousness in those who come into spiritual 
contact with the communion in which that conscious- 
ness is operating, i.e., with the new organism which 
Christ has formed for himself. The calling of Christ 
is his work of bringing individuals to an acceptance 
of this new life-fellowship with himself through the 
activity of the communion in which it now dwells; 
and his animating activity refers to his relation to 
the common life as the cause of its continuance in the 
church and in the individual. This mystical apprehen- 
sion of redemption stands mid-way between two 
other modes of representing the Redeemer's work, 
which may be designated as the magical, and the em- 
pirical. The first is that which attributes to Christ a 
redeeming activity independently of the founding of 
the Christian communion as the means of its propa- 
gation — some say, through the medium of the written 
word, others say, without it ; and the second attributes 
all to his example and doctrine, and thus renders his 


personal appearing in the world unnecessary. But the 
proof of the superiority of our view is found only in 

2) Reconciliation. — If God was in Christ in such 
a way that the God-consciousness was his whole per- 
sonal consciousness, perfect blessedness as well as sin- 
less perfection is involved; that is to say, nothing in 
the world, in human existence, or in his own experi- 
ence, became an evil to him through repressing or 
limiting that inner life, but rather a means for its 
exercise. Therefore his self-revelation to men as an 
act of self-communication brings them into the com- 
munion of that blessedness. Thus his reconciling work 
comes to expression as the result of his redemption. 
Hence, for the believer as for Christ, evil is excluded. 
Pain, sickness, sorrow, death are no longer evils to 
him; they do not limit his religious life, but serve 
rather for its guidance and progress. Through the 
possession of a common life with Christ the connection 
between sin and evil ceases for him. The old man has 
ceased to be. Sin is forgiven, punishment is ended. 
This is the common consciousness of all believers. 

As in redemption, so in reconciliation, this mystical 
apprehension stands in contrast to the prevailing magi- 
cal and empirical views, the former annulling the 
naturalness of Christ's continuous efficacy, and the 
latter its supernatural beginning and distinctive pecul- 
iarity. For the former makes the communication of 
Christ's blessedness independent of our reception into 
a life-communion with him, by making the forgive- 


ness of sins an external and arbitrary result of Christ's 
sufferings, and blessedness a reward externally and 
arbitrarily conferred on account of these sufferings. 
On this supposition there would be no more assurance 
of blessedness within the Christian communion than 
without it. The latter, by making our blessedness 
dependent upon our wavering development in religious 
life, fails to establish a constant assurance in the heart 
and places Christ in the same relation to us as it places 
other men. 

While our view of redemption and reconcili- 
ation does not accord to the sufferings of Christ 
themselves a primary relation to our salvation, this is 
justifiable on the ground that the opposite view would 
exclude a perfect acceptance into life- fellowship with 
Christ prior to his death. His sufferings constitute 
an element of the second rank, immediately in rela- 
tion to reconciliation and only mediately in relation 
to redemption. As concerns redemption : the perfec- 
tion of Christ's saving activity could be manifested 
only in case it yielded to no opposition, not even to 
that involving his death. This perfection does not 
lie in his sufferings but in his submission to them. 
But when leaving out of sight the founding of the 
new communion, the climax of his career is isolated 
from the rest of his life and his submission to suffer- 
ings for the sake of those sufferings themselves is 
looked upon as the sum of his redemptive activity, we 
have a magical view, a caricature of the doctrine of 
redemption. As concerns reconciliation : reception 


into the fellowship of Christ's blessedness depends 
on a longing for it on the part of those who, con- 
scious of their unblest state, have received an im- 
pression of the blessedness of Christ. The blessedness 
of Christ could perfectly appear only as it proved 
itself superior to the fulness of sufferings, and so 
much the more as these sufferings resulted from the 
opposition of sin. Here the Redeemer's sympathy 
for the unblest enters on its highest phase. On this 
side, then, it is not his submission to sufferings but 
the sufferings themselves which become the highest 
sanction of faith in his blessedness. But surely that 
view is a caricature which, entirely overlooking the 
necessity for immovable blessedness in Christ and 
isolating a single element in his activity (and that too 
sometimes, his physical sufferings) as the ground of 
salvation, posits the reconciling power of his suf- 
ferings directly in this, that he freely gave up his 
own blessedness and actually, even if only temporarily, 
became unblest. 

Our view, on the contrary, keeps in mind that 
salvation for men is found in their reception into a 
life-fellowship with Christ; that such is nothing else 
than a continuation of that creative divine act whose 
manifestation in time began in the constitution of the 
person of Christ; that every intensive exaltation of 
this new life in its relation to the disappearance of 
the collective life of sin is itself a continuation of that 
divine activity, and that in this new life is attained 
the original destiny of humanity, beyond which for a 


nature like ours there is nothing to be conceived or to 
strive for. 

B. The common division of Christ's activity into 
the prophetic, the priestly, and the kingly is not arbi- 
trary, but corresponds to the three factors operating 
in the development of the theocracy among the Jews. 
It was therefore a natural form of early Christian 
teaching in which a comparison with Judaism neces- 
sarily appeared, and in which there was ascribed to 
Christ a relation to God and men that exhausted the 
sphere of the divine economy of salvation. 

I ) The prophetic activity of Christ, as of the 
Jewish prophets, appeared in doctrine, prophecy, and 
miracle. The source of his doctrine was the pure 
original revelation of God in him, and, so far as the 
inner production of his thought is concerned, it was 
independent of the Jewish law. The essential content 
of it was his self-presentation, the setting forth in 
discourse of the creative God-consciousness as it 
stamped itself on his mental faculties so as to bring 
men into communion with himself. It may be divided 
into three inseparable portions: (i) the doctrine of 
his person which again on its outer side is (2) the 
doctrine of his calling or of the impartation of eternal 
life in the Kingdom of God, and on its inner side is 
(3) the doctrine of his own relation to God as the 
Father to be revealed through him. His doctrine is 
therefore summed up in the presentation of his per- 
son as the original revelation of God. The sufficiency 


and inexhaustibleness of this renders Christ the climax 
and end of all prophecy. 

His prophecies, as did the Jewish (we refer not 
to special and hypothetical predictions but to their 
broad universal character), referred to the consum- 
mation of the Kingdom of God. Since this is given 
in himself, all prediction is completed and ended in 
him. We are speaking not of isolated predictions, 
but of the one all-embracing prediction of the his- 
torical unfolding of the revelation of God in himself, 
involving, of course, a foretelling of the downfall of 
the temporary, and, at the time, opposing, Jewish 
theocracy. Apostolic predictions are to be received 
as an exposition or an echo of Christ. All supposed 
predictions or anticipations of future events falling 
outside this field are to be subjected to natural psychic 

His miracles at the time of their performance 
possessed value for those who beheld in them an exhi- 
bition of his person, but in themselves no longer 
possess validity for our consciousness because of our 
separation from these occurrences in time and space. 
They are subjects for scientific investigation and pass 
beyond the range of dogmatics. In place of them we 
have today the knowledge of the quality, range, and 
continuance of the spiritual workings of Christ. For 
us all miracles are comprehended and therefore ended 
in the one great spiritual miracle of his appearing. 
The miracles pertained to his prophetic ofiice because 
they were a setting forth of the being of God in him. 


2) The high-priestly office of Christ is not so 
suitable a description of his work because of the many 
contrasts between him and the Jewish high priest. As 
self-presentative, his priestly work is prophetic; and 
as supplying his people's needs, his intercession is a 
kingly office. Yet the prophetic and priestly offices 
may be distinguished thus : In his prophetic work 
Christ's self-presentation regards men as in antithesis 
to himself, and aims at making them receptive of union 
with him, which union is ever incomplete; his high- 
priestly work accepts our union with him as consum- 
mated in that, by a life-communion with him by which 
we participate in his perfection, his pure will to fulfil 
God's will is actively present in us, if not in per- 
formance, at least as motive. Though our manifesta- 
tion of this oneness with him is ever incomplete, it is 
acknowledged by God as absolute and eternal, and is 
so posited in our faith. Accordingly it may be said 
that he represents us as the principle of our new life, 
that his righteousness is reckoned to us, and that we 
become objects of the divine good pleasure — not in 
any external sense, but as one with him in inner life. 
But we cannot ascribe to him a fulfilment of the law 
for us nor a fulfilment of God's will in our behalf 
in any other sense. 

Turning now to what is commonly designated as 
the passive obedience of Christ in contrast with his 
active obedience, which has just been discussed (though 
we must remember that these are merely distinctions 
of convenience), we may describe it as follows: Christ 


suffered for our sins, not as punishment, but by his 
coming into contact with human sin and misery. But 
for him nothing, not even death, was evil, and hence 
could be no punishment for sin. Similarly also for 
the redeemed; because the consciousness of guilt is 
removed by our union with him, the connection be- 
tween evil and our sins, i.e., punishment, ceases for us. 
Herein, then, we see the redemptive value of Christ's 
sufferings : In his suffering unto death there is mani- 
fested to us an absolutely self-denying love, and thus 
is presented in perfect clearness the manner in which 
God was in Christ to reconcile the world to himself. 
In his sufferings perfect holiness and perfect blessed- 
ness stand before us. Just as the active obedience of 
Christ has its high-priestly worth pre-eminently in 
this, that God sees us in Christ as associates in his 
obedience; so the high-priestly worth of his passive 
obedience consists pre-eminently in this, that we see 
God in Christ and Christ as the most immediate par- 
ticipant in the eternal love which sent and equipped 

From this point of view we may correct two pre- 
vailing misinterpretations of his death. The first 
is the almost antiquated so-called "wounds-theology," 
which thinks to find the worth of Christ's suf- 
ferings in an emotional contemplation of them in 
detail. But this doctrine of salvation by contemplation 
annuls Christ's activity and destroys his priesthood. 
The second of these misinterpretations is that view 
which understands the doctrine that Christ's death 


removes our punishment, in the sense that he bore in 
his death as the sum of all evils that measure of pun- 
ishment demanded by the sins of the human race and 
thereby satisfied the divine righteousness. But apart 
from the implication that the divine nature must have 
participated in the sufferings of Christ, the doctrine 
of vicarious satisfaction wrongly makes God the arbi- 
trary author of Christ's sufferings, removes punish- 
ment from its natural connection with the morally 
bad, and so ignores the unity of nature. So far as 
Christ's work is satisfying — i.e., in that through the 
one entire act of his life, he became the eternally inex- 
haustible source of all life that is spiritual and blessed 
— in that respect it is not vicarious; because we are 
still under the necessity of exhibiting that same activity 
of life in communion with him. And in the respect 
in which he is our representative — i.e., in his feeling 
the sinfulness of others' badness — just in that respect 
he did not offer satisfaction, because those not yet 
in communion with him must feel their own unblessed- 
ness before they can enter into his communion, and 
because they will afterward share his sympathy for 
others. But he is our satisfying representative in 
that he presents human nature in perfection by the 
manifestation of his archetypal worth in his redemp- 
tive activity, so that God regards in him the totality 
of believers and sees in his free devotion to death such 
a perfection of redeeming power as is sufficient to 
bring the whole race within his communion. 

Finally, Christ's intercession refers, not to single 


petitions for individual men, but to his relation to the 
totality of the redeemed in such a way that in our 
prayers to God his co-operation appears in the puri- 
fied and perfect God-consciousness of the Christian 
communion. In this sense it is only through him that 
our prayers are well-pleasing to God and efficacious. 

Thus Christ is the climax of all priesthood, be- 
cause he exhausts its significance, and he is the end of 
all priesthood because he is the perfect mediator be- 
tween God and the human race for all time. At the 
same time, his priesthood has passed over to the 
communion of believers in that his whole redeeming 
activity is exhibited in them. They stand toward 
the rest of humanity in a similar relation to that of 
the Jewish priesthood tow'ard the people. This an- 
nuls all special priesthood and the meritoriousness 
of all individual actions or sufferings, 

3) The kingly office of Christ relates to his living 
union with believers in a communion ; it refers not 
to a special relation to individuals but only to them 
as members of his community. Since the communion 
arises out of the impartation of his consciousness, 
he is the continuous and inexhaustible source of supply 
for all its needs; the kingdom of God begins, subsists, 
and is perfected in his person. He is the animating 
principle of that communion, the power that draws 
men into it, the source of all legislation in it, and 
hence absolutely and exclusively lord over it. His 
personal consciousness produces the laws of its life, 
and these are accordingly eternal ; all legislation pro- 
ceeding from another source is alien to his kingdom. 


The question may be propounded : How does this 
kingdom stand related to the universal divine govern- 
ment? This question proceeds on theoretical grounds 
and produces only a theoretical difficulty. Faith is 
directed to Christ simply as source of grace and of 
the spiritual power and glory which flow from it, and 
when anything is said of his possession of a power 
over the natural world, as if he shared the lordship 
over it with God (which is contradicted by his prayers 
to God), this leads us beyond the sphere of faith. In 
the sphere in which Christ's power is exercised it is 
of course infinite, but that sphere is the communion 
founded by him, and therefore he has power over the 
world only in the sense that through the communion 
of believers — by their presentation of his person in 
word and deed — his redeeming activity is exerted 
upon men in drawing them to himself. 

Accordingly also Christ is the climax and end of 
all spiritual kingship. All other sorts of spiritual 
authority, as that of the teacher over his scholars, 
the exemplar over his imitators, the legislator over 
his subjects, are only partial and belong to a lower 
and subordinate grade. In this respect he stands con- 
trasted with all other founders of religions. All other 
kinds of kingship end in his because they are only 
an imitation of his. This involves a separation of 
his kingdom from all political and civil powers, which 
effectuate their decrees through the use of material 
force. Christianity is neither a political religion nor 
a religious state or theocracy. By the purely spiritual 
authority of his God-consciousness he puts an end to 


both. The farther his reign is extended and estab- 
Hshed the more clearly will church and state be sep- 
arated and therefore the more harmoniously will they 

Note. — Christ's htiiiiiliation and exaltatioui: These expres- 
sions must be excluded from a doctrinal statement of Christ's 
person and work, since the conditions so designated have no 
bearing on his person in itself or his work in itself, or the rela- 
tion of his person to his work. The supposition of an earlier 
condition of Christ's which was higher than his earthly, or of 
a later higher condition, is inconsistent with the unity of his 
person and militates against faith in his person as he was mani- 
fested on earth. It implies also impossible changes in the divine 
nature, as that to the absolutely extreme and eternal, and, there- 
fore, self-identical, a humiliation may be ascribed; or self- 
contradictory conceptions of the relations of the divine and 
human in him, as that the attributes of one or another are 
alternately subject to limitation or quiescence. It is contra- 
dicted by Christ's own statements concerning his own relations 
to the Father while on earth, which do not regard his sitting at 
God's right hand as an exaltation (cf. John 1:51; 4:34; 5:17, 
20 ff. ; 6:57; 8:29; 10:30, s^)- The idea has arisen from Phil. 
2 :6-9, a rhetorical passage of an ascetical character, which has 
been interpreted didactically. The whole doctrine destroys the 
unity of Christ's person and the reality of his earthly life, and 
is fatal to faith in his redemption (§§ 100-105). 

Second Division: The Manner in Which Communion with 

THE Perfection and Blessedness of the Redeemer is 

Expressed in the Individual Soul (§§ 106-12) 

The personal self-consciousness, properly under- 
stood, is a race-consciousness, from which the con- 
sciousness of sin is inseparable. The individual 


identifies himself with a collective life which is sinful, 
and that collective sinful life is expressed in the soul 
of the individual as personal guilt and ill-desert. The 
experience of a repression of the God-consciousness is 
connected with external events in such a way that they 
become evils, i.e., punishment of our sins, which is 
the experience of unblessedness. In this state of the 
individual previous to his entering into a life-com- 
munion with Christ the God-consciousness is not 
constant and dominant, but appears only in intermit- 
tent flashes. 

But by the working of Christ, through the word 
and the activities of the communion which has its 
life-source in him, this relation of the individual states 
and activities to the God-consciousness is changed, for 
these are now continuously controlled by it as the 
governing force of the personal life. Or, as otherwise 
stated, the self-consciousness of the individual is 
fundamentally altered because it is identified with 
a new collective life which originates in the God- 
consciousness of Christ. But the man, though a 
new personality, is still, as regards the unity of his 
psychical life, the same. The new state is grafted 
on the old, as it were. The change forms a turning- 
point from which onward the new life is in a condi-' 
tion of becoming. This turning-point is regeneration, 
and the progressive development of the life there- 
from is sanctification. 

These terms have a reference to the race. The 
entrance of Christ into the sphere of human existence 


was potentially a new creation of the entire race. 
The beginning of that new creation of the race is its 
regeneration; the gradual extension of that creative 
act throughout all the members of the race is its 
sanctification. The relation of the person of Christ 
to the rest of humanity is in analogy to the relation 
between the divine in him and his human nature ; only 
that in the latter case at the very first a pure person- 
ality arose and the extension of the God-consciousness 
in his human nature was uninterrupted, whereas in 
the former case, on account of the identity of the 
subject in the old and the new states, elements from 
the old state of sinfulness interfere with the regularity 
of the development. Now, the regeneration of the 
race actually appears only in the regeneration of the 
individuals; and since the communion of believers 
consists of the totality of the sanctified energies of 
all who have been received into a fellowship of life 
with Christ, so also the sanctification of the indi- 
vidual involves in itself the operation of all those 
forces by which the communion is formed, held to- 
gether, and extended. 

I. Regeneration 
Regeneration may be regarded in two ways : ( i ) 
Reception into communion with Christ may be re- 
garded as a settled permanent relation of man to God; 
formerly his relation to the divine holiness and 
righteousness appeared in the consciousness of guilt 
and desert of punishment, but with entrance into com- 
munion with Christ that disappears. (2) Reception 


into this communion may be regarded as a change in 
the form of life: in all the energies of life the will 
was formerly controlled by sensuousness and those 
impulses which sprang from the God-consciousness 
only coursed through the life without determining it, 
but now the relation is reversed. That is, in the first 
of these aspects regeneration is justification; in the 
second it is conversion. These are inseparably held 
together in the experience of fellowship, a fellowship 
which involves both a participation in Christ's per- 
fection and a participation in his blessedness. 

i) Conversion. — In the beginning of the new life 
of communion with Christ there are for the individual 
experience two elements — repentance and faith. Both 
are the outcome in the individual of Christ's self- 
presenting (prophetic), self-communicating (kingly) 
activity as exercised in that communion with which 
he comes into contact, by word and deed. Repentance 
is related to the past life in its totality (and not to 
separate acts merely, as it would be if produced 
through the law), and manifests itself in the form of 
regret for the sinfulness of the past and a change 
of mind as to the aim and purpose of life. It is a 
transition from activity in the old life to a subjection 
to the energy of the new; accordingly it implies faith. 
Faith is an act receptive of the Redeemer as presented 
in the Christian communion. It is no mere static 
condition, for human life is essentially active, and 
Christian piety is teleological. Even in its recep- 
tivity of the divine grace human nature is active. 


And if we go back from effectual divine grace which 
actually brings a man into communion with Christ, 
to that prevenient grace which shows itself, according 
to the laws of our nature, in the indistinct, often fitful, 
longing for redemption, we shall find that this is that 
original divine impartation which was bestowed at 
the creation of the race and which constitutes human 
nature, and that this impartation itself was bestowed 
in relation to the full redemptive activity of Christ 
which was yet to appear, so that a man's co-operation 
in his own conversion is not independent of grace. 
Here appears the parallel between the divine redemp- 
tion of the race as it is actualized in the individuals 
comprising the race, and that divine creative act which 
consisted in the formation of Christ's person and the 
permeating of his being with the God-consciousness. 
The contention of many teachers both in the Eng- 
lish and in the German church that children born in 
the bosom of the Christian church are to be received 
as children into its fellowship because they are already 
members of the body of Christ and have already been 
regenerated in their baptism, is to be rejected. For in 
all, whether born in the church or out of it, those forces 
which cause the rise of sin are at work and in all 
there is the tendency to degrade the divine to the 
sensuous. Infant baptism does not affect this power 
of sin in them, so that all are equally in need of con- 
version. The only actual distinction is that those 
who are born in the church stand in a natural and 
ordered connection with the operations of divine grace 


and are therefore already subjects of the gospel call, 
while the others stand in a contingent relation to that 
call. Indeed, our creeds connect only the original 
baptism of adults and those who ask for it with the 
new birth and extend it to infant baptism only, as it 
were, by permission. They mean to say no more than 
Calvin when he said that "the seeds of repentance 
and faith" were in these children. To bind together 
the sacrament of baptism and the new birth is to fall 
into a view of them as magical. Faith and conversion 
must ever and everywhere arise in the same way as 
with the first disciples, namely, through the whole 
prophetic activity of Christ; only that now the self- 
presentation of Christ is mediated through those who 
preach him, who are the organs of his activity. 

But to say, that to some Christ is immediately and 
inwardly revealed without the word, is to make the 
redemption flow from the bare idea of the Redeemer 
and renders the actual appearing of Christ unneces- 
sary. And to leave the operations of divine grace 
in conversion without actual historical connection with 
the personal efficacious work of Christ is to abandon 
all certainty of the identity of this inner Christ with 
the historical. If now, on the contrary, the true view 
is that all that operation upon the mind from the 
first impression of the preaching of Christ up to its 
establishment in converting faith is to be ascribed to 
the activity of Christ, then all these operations of 
divine grace are supernatural; but since they are in 
a natural historical connection with the personal life 


of Jesus and continue it historically they are also 

2) Justification. — Justification implies forgiveness 
of sins and acknowledgment of sonship with God, 
and it depends upon faith in the Redeemer, as has 
just been shown. The divine act of justification is 
not to be sundered from the working of Christ in 
conversion. Justification for the self-consciousness 
which rests in contemplation is the same as is con- 
version for the consciousness which passes over into 
stimulus of the will. Corresponding with the two sides 
of conversion, repentance finds its issue in the forgive- 
ness of sins, just as faith becomes for thought the 
consciousness of sonship with God as that which is the 
same as the consciousness of fellowship with Christ. 
Not that forgiveness precedes faith, but that it declares 
the end of the old state just as does repentance, and son- 
ship with God expresses the character of the new 
state just as does faith. Both depend on the whole 
activity of Christ just as in the case of conversion, 
but immediately and in themselves they denote only 
that relation of man to God which supervenes upon 
the consciousness of guilt and desert of punishment. 

Justification and conversion are synchronous. The 
converted man is a new man. For in this new life- 
fellowship with Christ sin is no longer active, but it is 
an afterworking or reaction of the old man. He no 
longer appropriates it to himself but reacts against it 
as an alien force, and accordingly the consciousness 
of guilt is removed. In him the consciousness of 


sin always becomes, on account of faith, the con- 
sciousness of forgiveness of sins. 

But justification is not an isolated act or pro- 
nouncement dependent upon some empirical activity 
or event, for this is to make the divine activity tem- 
poral and dependent in its nature, which would destroy 
the feeling of absolute dependence on God. Rather, 
there is one eternal and universal decree to justify 
men for Christ's sake. This decree, again, is one 
with the decree to send Christ; were it not so the 
sending of Christ might be without effect. And the 
decree to send Christ is one with that for the creation 
of the human race so far as human nature is first per- 
fected in Christ. And since in God thought and will, 
will and deed are inseparable, therefore all these con- 
stitute one divine act for the alteration of our relation 
to God. The manifestation in time of the divine act 
takes its beginning in the incarnation of Christ, from 
which the total new creation of mankind proceeds, 
and it continues in the union of individual men with 
Christ. We have therefore to assume only one divine 
act of justification gradually realizing itself in time 
(§§ 106-9). 

2. Sanclijication 

The idea of holiness in men has been brought over 
into the New Testament from the Old, where it is ap- 
prehended as an attribute of God. But for Chris- 
tians, not holiness, but sanctification, i.e., movement 
toward holiness, is the appropriate term because of 
their increasing separation from the pre-regenerate 


state and their gradual approach to that of Christ. The 
state of sanctification is, accordingly, not to be com- 
pared with the state in which the man was governed 
by sin but with that state in which he came under the 
power of prevenient grace. That grace affected him 
from without by stimulating thoughts and feelings 
which tend toward repentance and faith and also by 
prompting to actions which by repetition become 
habits. Such actions while they do not spring from 
individual regeneration are to be viewed as specifically 
the actions of the Christian collective life which exer- 
cises a power over the individuals who come within 
the sphere of its operations, like that of native citizens 
over the foreigners resident among them. The state 
of regeneration is to be distinguished from the new 
birth, not by the number of individual actions or a 
whole series of them, but by this, that the will to be 
no longer in that former sin-producing collective life 
has become a power of repulsion of sin, which power 
is itself an outflow from the submission to Christ's 
operation and becomes established as a steady willing- 
ness to be controlled by Christ. In the new collective 
life within which the regenerate man has fellowship 
with Christ, his natural powers are taken up and ap- 
propriated by Christ's activity, whereas formerly they 
were exercised entirely within the sinful collective 
life. The regenerate man's life possesses therefore an 
affinity to Christ's in respect to both sides of it, his 
sinless perfection and his blessedness. Since the activi- 
ties of the regenerate are now exercised within this new 


collective life, their energies are exerted reciprocally, 
producing in each member of this new body a gradual 
religious development. 

The development must be gradual. For since the 
God-consciousness has come into a relation of control 
over the energies of human life only through a direct 
communication, after being regularly repressed by the 
sin-consciousness, it must be regarded as sustaining 
continually the opposition of this lower principle now 
gradually disappearing. Though this development is 
gradual, it is not perfectly regular for experience, 
because it occurs in the midst of a conflict, and there 
are times when the power of sin is exhibited in actions 
which obscure for the time the presence of the new 
spiritual power, just as in the former condition of 
life there occurred at times actions proceeding from 
the prevenient grace of God which obscured for a 
little while the presence of sin. In this respect Christ's 
development onward from his birth and the develop- 
ment of the regenerate are not strictly parallel. Yet 
the occasional recurrence of the consciousness of sin 
does not annul the connection with Christ so as to 
negative regeneration as a divine act of union with 
human nature, or sanctification as the state of that 

To express the same in another manner: In the 
activities of the regenerate there are two elements, 
the permanent and the variable. The permanent ele- 
ment is that ever self-renewing will (power) of the 
kingdom of God which wrought in Christ, and this 


is that participation in the sinless perfection and bless- 
edness of Christ already spoken of ; for all the power 
of good is within the kingdom of God and all the 
power of sin lies without it. The variable element 
appears in the isolated acts of sin which burst out in 
the life of the regenerate producing pain and unhappi- 

The sins of the regenerate are not destructive of 
the state of grace because such never occur without 
the forth-putting on their part of effort (though in- 
sufficient) against sin; likewise the good deeds of 
the regenerate are never unopposed by sinful tenden- 
cies or untainted with sin. The conflict with sin exists 
always; the difference in the character of the acts in 
the two cases is one of degree. The sinful deed pro- 
ceeds from the old sinful collective life from which 
he has been personally separated and consequently no 
new form of sin arises in the regenerate man, and, so 
soon as he acknowledges the act as his own (i.e., 
repents), with the return of his consciousness of identi- 
fication with the new collective life the consciousness 
of forgiveness arises. Hence we may say the sins of 
the regenerate are always accompanied by forgiveness. 

The good deeds of the regenerate are objects of 
the divine good pleasure, not as isolated empirical 
deeds of the individual concerned, for no single act 
is unmixed with sin, but in so far as they are the 
product of the new collective life with which he now 
identifies himself. That is to say, the good deeds of 
the regenerate are the product of their union with 


Christ, and the merit they possess is Christ's, so that, 
strictly speaking, it is only the person — and that too 
only as God sees him in Christ — that is the object of 
the divine good pleasure, and his works only for the 
sake of the person. Consequently the regenerate claim 
no personal reward (§§ 11Q-12). 

Section 2. The Nature of the World in Relation to Re- 
demption. Doctrine of the Church 

The redemptive energy of Christ originally lay 
simply in himself. In the exercise of it he created a 
new spiritual organism through which it is historically 
propagated in the world. All the redemptive energy 
of Christ is accordingly comprehended within this 
new body, which is the communion of believers in 
him. Now, the consciousness of redemption involves 
a consciousness of participation in the communion of 
the regenerate, for this communion has not first to 
be established by an act of the regenerate, but in 
regeneration they already find themselves within it, 
and they trace the workings of grace through which 
they become participators in the redemption, to its 

This activity was exerted upon them prior to 
their consciousness of redemption, their felt need of 
redemption being an effect of it. Consequently, there 
is no absolute leap out of one sphere into the other, 
else conversion would be an unhistorical occurrence, 
effected by some incomprehensible influence operat- 


ing outside the universe of causes and effects. But 
just as there already existed prior to the advent of 
Christ, through the work of prevenient grace, a circle 
of individuals prepared to receive the redemption as 
it was to be ministered by the personal work of Christ 
himself, so now also there is in the world an outer 
circle of individuals upon whom the activity of the 
inner circle which consists of the communion of be- 
lievers is exerted ; and since in regeneration there is 
a consciousness of being already within that com- 
munion outside of which no redeeming activity is ex- 
erted, these people must have been already before 
regeneration within the outer circle of that communion. 
The world, then, as the field in which the church's 
work is to be done, stands in an antithetical relation 
to the church, but on the other hand is destined to pass 
over into it. Here we find the explanation of the 
Christian's conscious sympathetic relation to all things 
human. For while the world, notwithstanding its 
original perfection, is for men, apart from the re- 
demption, the locus of sin and evil, through the advent 
of Christ a new element has entered into it, namely, 
Christ's own self-imparting perfection and blessed- 
ness. Through him, then, the world becomes to us 
the locus of perfection and blessing. 

We perceive, then, that the law of self-organiza- 
tion, as it appears in the naturalization of the super- 
natural in Christ, finds its parallel in the communion 
founded by him. For the incarnation of Christ in 
relation to human nature in general corresponds to 


the regeneration of the individual in relation to the 
whole nature of the individual; so also to sanctifica- 
tion, as the progressive appropriation by Christ of 
individual functions, corresponds the work of the 
Christian communion as an organic body which pro- 
gressively organizes itself and appropriates to itself 
the mass (i.e., the world) which lies over against it. 
Three stages in this process may be defined : ( i ) the 
origin of the church, or the manner in which the 
church is builded out of the world; (2) the present 
existence of the church in antithesis to the world; (3) 
the removal of this antithesis in the perfection of the 
church. Though the second is alone present imme- 
diately to experience, and therefore constitutes the 
kernel of this whole section, it will be better to discuss 
these stages in the historical order. 

First Division: The Origin of the Church (§§ 115-25) 

The character common to all the regenerate is 
the governing will of the kingdom of God. That will 
is exerted in two forms, (i) in gaining other indi- 
viduals and receiving them into the kingdom, (2) in 
the process of perfecting the work of the kingdom in 
ourselves and the other members by mutual and com- 
plementary activity. But this spatial extension of 
the kingdom and this co-operative and mutual influence 
are subject to those circumstances of time and place 
in which the members of the kingdom find themselves 
placed. Accordingly, on the one hand, the origin 
of the church must be viewed in its relation to the 


divine zvorld-governmcnt, because the individuals 
composing the church are called out of the world; 
and on the other hand, in relation to the moving, uni- 
fying principle which constitutes all the members of 
the church one moral person. These will be treated 
under the titles Election, and Communication of the 
Holy Spirit. 

I. Election 

The consciousness of redemption in Christ is so 
related to the consciousness of unity with the race, 
that the incarnation of Christ is viewed as potentially 
the regeneration of the human race. Hence the de- 
sire to communicate the gospel to the world. The 
actual spread of the gospel is gradual — from the indi- 
vidual to the mass, from nation to nation, and from 
generation to generation — being subject to these condi- 
tions which determine all human activity. That is 
to say, participation in redemption is subjected to the 
laws of the divine world-government. This must be 
true in reference even to the mysterious fact of the 
rejection of the gospel by some and its acceptance by 
others. Just as in Christ the supernatural becomes 
natural, so the church as the possessor of that super- 
natural which was in Christ appears in its course in 
the world as a natural historical phenomenon. 

The final ground of the divine government of the 
world is the divine good-pleasure, and in the last 
analysis it is to this we must refer the facts of the 
gospel's earlier and later reception in different places, 
its acceptance and rejection by different individuals 


while living, and its failure to reach the ears of others 
before they die. We have, therefore, to face the 
problem of defining this divine will with clearness and 
without inner contradiction. Now, it is not an offense 
to Christian sympathy that some are received earlier 
than others into the communion of redemption, nor 
is it ever supposed that the sum of final blessedness 
is thereby lessened. It is as vain to hold the opposite 
view, that it would have been better if the regenera- 
tion of the individual had occurred earlier, as to con- 
tend that it would have been better for the totality of 
mankind if Christ had come before he did, or to 
lament the fact that the world was not created earlier. 
But when it is supposed that those who die without 
participation in the redemption are forever excluded 
from it, there is created, on the contrary, a discord in 
Christian sympathy with the race. Not only is it a v 
violation of the unity of the race, but it imparts arbi-V' 
trariness and particularism into the divine will. To 
reply by saying that these opposite destinies are or- 
dained for the sake of manifesting in the one case the 
divine mercy and in the other case the divine righteous- 
ness is to overlook the truth that the divine righteous- 
ness is adequately exhibited in the reward given to 
Christ and the punishment of men as long as they 
adhere to the old life of sin. And further, to separate 
in this manner the divine attributes is to describe God 
as an unlimited being with limited attributes and to 
overlook the mutual inclusiveness of all his attributes. 
The antithesis between the church and the world must 


be regarded, therefore, not as final, but as temporary; 
not as absolute, but as relative, and as destined to 
disappear by the ultimate absorption of all into the 
church. The gradual progress of sanctification in 
the individual and the gradual transition of those who 
are in the outer circle of the workings of grace into 
the inner circle are analogous. This is simply the 
natural form which the divine activity necessarily as- 
sumes in its historical manifestation, the inevitable 
condition of all temporal effectiveness of the word 
that "became flesh." 

I. The doctrine of fore-ordination is a conse- 
quence. The self-consciousness of the regenerate and 
the feeling of absolute dependence are one, since our 
activity in the kingdom of God is referred by con- 
sciousness to the sending of Christ and is recognized 
as dependent on our place in human relations ; so that 
the order in which the redemption is actualized in each 
man is one with the carrying out of the divine world- 
order in relation to him. Thus the time and manner 
of the individual's entrance into the communion of 
Christ are only a result of the determination of the 
manifestation of the justifying divine activity by the 
universal order of the world, and they are a part of 
the same. Hence the kingdom of grace, or the king- 
dom of the Son, is absolutely one with the kingdom of 
the Omniscient Omnipotent One, or of the Father; 
and to say that the state of those to whom grace has 
been given is a work of that divine grace which was 


in Christ is one and the same thing as to say that it 
is a result of the divine foreordination. 

And further, since the Christian consciousness 
recognizes only one foreordination — namely, that to 
participation in the blessedness of Christ — the unity 
of the race-consciousness and the universality of the 
world-order can be in harmony with the Christian 
consciousness of redemption only by the acknowledg- 
ment of the foreordination of all mankind to an ulti- 
mate reception into the kingdom of grace. 

2. From the above doctrine of election may be 
deduced also the doctrine of the determining grounds 
of election. 

Of free existences, why are some chosen and others 
not? The peculiar condition of each individual in 
the human race is due to his place in the development 
of the divine world-government. If, then, we seek 
the determining grounds of the election of an indi- 
vidual absolutely in the beginning of all things, we 
shall find these in the divine good-pleasure; but if we 
seek the grounds of election in the final results at- 
tained in the end, we posit the divine foreknozvledge. 
Divine good-pleasure and divine foreknowledge are 
one and the same principle viewed from opposite 

If, therefore, regeneration be viewed as the actu- 
alization of the union of the divine and human nature, 
and the justifying divine grace as the temporal and 
individual continuation of that universal act of union 
which began in the incarnation of Christ, then the 


rule of the divine procedure must be the same in both 
cases. That is, the time and place which was chosen 
must have been absolutely the best and the results 
must have reached the maximum of efficiency. That 
moment in the life of the individual must have been 
the time when he would exercise faith. From this 
point of view therefore the election of the individual 
is grounded in his foreseen faith. But this again is 
itself determined by the divine causality operating in 
the world's course, which causality rests in the divine 
good-pleasure, which is concerned with no individual 
in and for himself, but with the world- whole. 

Note. — But if while we trace the origin of the Christian 
church to the divine good-pleasure, we admit that a part of 
the human race is forever lost, the contemplation of that 
good-pleasure affects our race-consciousness and our personal 
consciousness in opposite ways, one painfully and the other 
pleasurably, and hence admits of no pure impartation of the 
blessedness of Christ to us. It becomes necessary therefore 
that we conceive the divine foreordination to salvation as em- 
bracing ultimately the whole human race (§§ 117-20). 

2. The Communication of the Spirit 
All those who are in the state of sanctification 
are conscious of participation in the perfection 
and blessedness of Christ, which is dependent on the 
indwelling of God in him. This possession of the 
perfection and blessedness that were in Christ belongs 
to the believer in the form of that absolutely constant 
will of the kingdom of God as the inner impulse of life. 
It is not as isolated individuals standing in independent 


personal relation to Christ that Christians are con- 
scious of this possession, but only in their relation 
to the Christian communion as members of it. This 
spirit, which constitutes the will of the kingdom of 
God, is the common spirit of the Christian communion. 
It is this spirit that furnishes the life-unity of the 
communion, and makes the members of the com- 
munion a moral person. The impulse felt by all the 
members of the communion to assemble together, to 
combine in an effort for the extension of the kingdom 
among those who are not yet consciously within it. 
and to effect that mutual working which produces the 
harmonious development of all their various, but now 
unified, energies, is just the expression of the life 
of that one spirit dwelling in them all. This is the 
indwelling of the divine in the church, conditioned by 
the indwelling of the divine in Christ. 

This common spirit of all the sanctified is thus the 
Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of God, and the 
bestowal of that Spirit by Christ is what is meant by 
the Communication of the Holy Spirit. The Holy 
Spirit is therefore just the common spirit of all those 
who are sanctified, who together form one moral 
person, having the one aim, common to all, of further- 
ing the whole, and possessing peculiar love to one 
another. If it be objected that our use of the term 
does not coincide with common usage, we may reply 
that it is in harmony with the New Testament where 
the Holy Spirit is not regarded as our individual en- 
duement apart from his connection with the totality 


of believers, or as a peculiar quality of separate per- 
sonalities, but as the unitary possession of them all 
(cf. John 16:7 ff. ; Acts i .-4, 5 ; John 20:22, 23 ; Acts 
2 :4; I Cor. 12:4; Rom. 8:9; Acts 10:47; ^9'^'> 2:38). 
On this point the expression of the Christian con- 
sciousness may be treated as twofold. First, in 
analogy with that unity which constitutes a nation, 
where the common and self-same national character 
inheres in each citizen but is modified by his original 
disposition, the Christian church is one through this 
common spirit, but its activity in each individual is 
conditioned by the state in which the new birth found 
him. Second, this common spirit is one because in 
all it is from one and the same source, namely, Christ, 
since the communication of it coincides W'ith the rise 
of faith in him and the recognition of that faith in 

It may be said further in objection : If, as has been 
stated, all peoples are destined to pass over into the 
Christian communion by virtue of the unity of the 
race, then, since there cannot be two life-unities for 
one and the same whole, the common spirit of the 
Christian church is simply the common spirit of the 
human race. The answer is : It is just in the posses- 
sion and communication of the Holy Spirit that the 
unity of the members of the human family — now, 
alas ! torn asunder by mutual jealousies and animosi- 
ties — becomes an accomplished fact. Through Christ 
as Founder there is realized a union which by faith 
and in love embraces all men, so that the race- 


consciousness and the God-consciousness become one 
and inseparable. But on this very account we can 
say that the Holy Spirit is no natural principle devel- 
oping itself in man outside of Christ. 

The believer is conscious of possessing this spirit 
with the act of faith in Christ, which arises through 
that representation of Christ which is given in the 
preaching of him. But this gift is no longer received 
direct from Christ personally, as was the case with 
his first disciples. Up to the time of Christ's separa- 
tion from them they were only in the state of a de- 
veloping receptivity in relation to his spirit. The 
transition from receptivity to self -activity took place 
for them in the days of the resurrection. Up to the 
time of Christ's separation from them, their relation 
to him was that of a household to its head or of a 
school to its teacher — upon the death of the leader 
dissolution was the result. But with the separation 
of Christ from his disciples they became conscious 
of their possession of his Spirit as their common spirit ; 
they ceased to be a school and became a church; they 
ceased to be merely receptive of his teachings and 
nature, and became spontaneous and communicative 
in relation thereto. The Holy Spirit was thus communi- 
cated to them as their common possession, and was 
thenceforth communicated by them to those who were 
in the stage of preparatory grace in which they them- 
selves had once been. Whenever these also, apprehend- 
ing Christ by faith, are transformed from a merely 
receptive to an active condition in their place within 


this new collective life founded by Christ, it may be 
said that they have received the Holy Spirit. 

Consequently, the life and activity of the church 
proceeds historically — not in some secret, magical, or 
mysterious way — from Christ. His incarnation was 
the naturalization of the supernatural, the union of 
the divine with human nature. So the communication 
of the Holy Spirit constitutes the union of the Divine 
Being with human nature in the form of a common 
spirit animating the collective life of believers which 
Christ founded. The operations of the Holy Spirit 
are not to be found in something outside the Christian 
church or in some superhuman nature or in some divine 
power affecting human nature from without; but the 
Holy Spirit is an actual spiritual force in the souls 
of believers and must be conceived of as united with 
the human nature in them, so as to become one with 
it. Each believer participates in this common spirit, 
not in his personal self-consciousness regarded by 
itself alone, but only in so far as he is conscious of 
his existence in this whole, personal peculiarities being 
no element in this common consciousness. H then 
we regard the union of the divine with Christ's human 
personality as an endowment of human nature in its 
collective capacity, participation in the Holy Spirit 
and fellowship of life with Christ are one and the 
same, reversely contemplated. The Christian church 
animated by the Holy Spirit is in its purity and per- 
fection the perfect image of the Redeemer, and every 
regenerated individual is a complementary constituent 


part of this communion. That is to say that in the 
Christian church as a collective life, as a moral person, 
the modes of apprehension and of action are the same 
as those of the Redeemer because the same human 
powers are united with the same divine principle. 
This image, however, appears in its perfection only 
when we view the human race (with which the church 
is destined to be identical) apart from sin, and is to 
be progressively realized. Accordingly, if we con- 
template the church's gradual realization of its ideal 
according to the divine order of its extension and de- 
velopment in the world, we shall see that in its entirety 
it is at every instant at the highest stage of perfection 
possible to it and carries in itself the ground of a 
highest perfection yet to be attained. This, however, 
is apprehensible only to faith and is not demonstrable 
by experience (§§ 121-25). 

Second Division: The Church in Its Coexistence with the 

World (§§ 126-59) 

The church is the creation by the Spirit of Christ, 
out of individuals in the world, of a communion whose 
common spirit is the same Holy Spirit. Its state of 
existence in the world must, then, be in analogy with 
that of the person of Christ. In him the supernatural, 
the divine, as the abiding self-identical element of 
his person, united to itself the natural, the human, 
which was the variable element of his person. So 
also in its common spirit the church possesses an ever 
self -identical element, which makes its appearance in 


a variable element, the world. The church and the 
world are not to be described as two mutually exclu- 
sive entities, as if it sufficed to say that just as the 
world is not the church, so the church is not the world. 
Such a view tends to separation and legal righteous- 
ness. A better and more adequate statement would 
be the following : The world is excluded from partici- 
pation in the church because in itself it is mere nullity 
and negation — not a self-contained unity, but a mani- 
fold of elements temporarily, oppositely, and con- 
tingently related. That alone which is permanent 
in the world is the feeling of the need of help which 
itself is a product of the Holy Spirit's self-exertion 
upon the world and is the basis of the church's title 
to the world. 

Since the aim of the church is ever the same, 
namely, the realization within itself of the image of 
Christ, the mode of the existence of the divine in the 
human must remain the same as it was in him. The 
variable element in the church, as in Christ, is due 
to the human nature in and through which the Holy 
Spirit works. Now, human nature as undetermined 
by the Holy Spirit is the world, and therefore all that 
is variable in the church is due, not to its common 
spirit, but to the world, and the manner of the Spirit's 
work among men depends on peculiarities of tempera- 
ment and circumstances of individuals and, on a larger 
scale, of nations. 

All in the church which is not wrought by the Holy 
Spirit is of the world and constitutes its attack upon 


the church. To this pertain the sins of the regenerate 
and all error and perversion, which are destined to 
disappear from the church and yet re-enter into it 
with each new convert. The differences within a 
Christian society arise from the same causes. 

All this discussion amounts to saying that Chris- 
tianity is a power developing itself historically in the 
world. A treatment of it as such involves a discus- 
sion of its permanent, self -identical elements and its 
variable elements (§ 126). 

I. The Essential and Permanent Features of the Chtirch 

(§§ 127-47) 

If our Christianity is to be the same as that of 
the first disciples, it must arise like theirs from the 
influence of Christ. But since his influence is no longer 
an immediate, personal one, we are in need of a dem- 
onstration of the identity of our Christianity with that 
which appears in their presentation of the personality 
of Christ. For this we are dependent on the Scrip- 
tures of the New Testament. They show that from 
the influence of Christ himself and from his disciples' 
testimony about him there actually proceeded the 
church-forming activity promised by him. They also 
complement the immediate utterances of Christ, be- 
cause we can refer the ordinances and acts of his 
first disciples to the teachings and expressed will of 
Christ as their source. They are thus the work of 
the Spirit of Christ which is the common spirit of the 
church. With the loss of the original oral testimony 


the Scriptures remain the only original authority. But 
they would become a dead inheritance, did we possess 
these only and were the ever self-renewing activity 
of the church wanting. Thus the living testimony 
of the church and the Scriptures are the two elements 
indispensable for the historical identity and the truth 
of faith. Moreover, since the immediate personal in- 
fluence of Christ is wanting, the institution and re- 
newal of life-fellowship with Christ must issue from 
the church and be referred to its acts — that is, such 
acts as can be referred to Christ himself. For, on the 
one hand, the church is his organism and all her es- 
sential activities are the image of Christ's activities, 
and, on the other hand, all that is effected by them is 
the progressive actualization of redemption in the 
world, and therefore her activities are just the con- 
tinuation of the activities of Christ. 

It is true that there are many Christian churches 
mutually opposed in varying degrees. Their differ- 
ences concern not the reality of a common life-fellow- 
ship with Christ, but the relations between the outer 
forms which represent it and the inner fellowship 
implied in them. The most important question as to 
all these differences is, whether they are grounded in 
those spatial and temporal differences which appear 
in the spiritual nature of men and are therefore un- 
avoidable, or whether they are grounded in the world's 
attack upon the church and are therefore defects. 
But amid all the divisions of the Christian communion 
its universal self-identity appears in a triple manner: 


the testimony of Christ, the formation and preserva- 
tion of life-felloivship zvith Christ, and the reciprocal 
relation of influence between the individual and the 
ivhole. The first of these is exhibited in the Scrip- 
tures and the ministry of the Divine Word, and these, 
as constituting the church's immediate presentation 
of Christ, are an image of his prophetic activity. The 
second is furnished in baptism and the Supper, and 
these represent his high-priestly activity. The third 
appears in the office of the keys and in prayer in the 
name of Jesus, and these represent Christ's kingly 
activity (§ 127). 

I. Holy Scripture. — The Scripture of the New 
Testament is a work of the Holy Spirit as the common 
spirit of the church, and forms only a particular 
instance of the universal testimony of the church in 
its presentation of the image of Christ to men. The 
written word possesses, however, a superiority over 
the original word which was merely spoken, not in 
its higher authoritativeness, but in that it furnished a 
means of testing our present testimony of Christ by 
that which was originally given. Yet this word is to 
be viewed as no dead possession (legal conception), 
but as an ever self-renewing activity of the church in 
its work of awakening faith in Christ by its presenta- 
tion of him to the world. 

It is faith in Christ which gives rise to reverence 
for the Scriptures, and not the converse. For, if faith 
in Christ is to be made to repose on the authority of 
the Scriptures, then that authority itself can be estab- 


lished only by an appeal to the reason common to all 
men. That is to say, faith is made dependent on a 
scientific demonstration of the authenticity, accuracy, 
and truth of the Scriptures, and those who are in- 
capable of making the necessary investigation are de- 
pendent on external authority. Faith is Subordinated 
and proportioned to intelligence or ability. Believers 
are graded in two classes as in the Romish church. 
Moreover, on these terms a man might become a Chris- 
tian without a felt need of redemption — without re- 
pentance and a change of mind. Such a faith could 
never issue in a life- fellowship with Christ. Even the 
apostles proceeded not from the interpretation of the 
Old Testament to faith in Christ, but first, stimulated 
by the Baptist's testimony, rose to faith in Christ by 
witnessing his words and deeds and then proceeded 
to interpret the Old Testament in this new light. Ac- 
cordingly, while it is proper to refer to the Scriptures 
for the sake of showing that an article of faith is an 
original element of Christian piety, yet a doctrine does 
not necessarily pertain to Christianity because it is 
taught in the New Testament, but rather owes its place 
in the New Testament to its relation to Christianity. 
The opposite view would make dogmatic theology a 
collection of individual propositions without inner 
connection. Herein lies the justification of our bring- 
ing forward a doctrine of the Scriptures at this point. 
It is Christ's Spirit as the common spirit of the 
communion which gives utterance to itself in the 
historical and epistolary writings of the New Testa- 


ment, and each one of these writings is an utterance 
of that Spirit, so far as it represents the common 
spirit in which all the writers participated. Thus it 
comes that the Spirit of Christ as a living presence in 
the Christian communion is the source of a decision 
between canonical and apocryphal works and is also 
the ground for a continuous and never-ending adjudi- 
cation upon the character of the various contents of 
these same works. At the same time these Scriptures, 
as the first members of the series of presentations of 
Christ, are the norm of all subsecjuent presentations 
of him, inasmuch as they stand as the presentation 
of the person of Christ by those who, of all those 
whose writings we possess, stood nearest to Christ, 
and who were thus protected by the purifying influence 
of the living remembrance of the whole church from 
those dangers to their faith which arose out of their 
earlier Jewish forms of thought and life. But the 
peculiar spiritual endowment which came in this way 
to these apostolic men does not involve a distinction 
between the spiritual quality of their acts and that 
of their writings, as if they were animated and im- 
pelled by the Spirit in a lesser degree in the one case 
than in the other. Neither are the sacred books to be 
regarded, on account of the apostolic endowment, as 
demanding an exegetical and critical treatment pe- 
culiar to themselves. For just as in the doctrine of 
the person of Christ, so also in regard to the Scrip- 
tures, the activity of that spirit which operates in 
the church exhibits itself as an inner (the divine) 


expressing itself organically through an outer (the 
human). Similarly the narrative and epistolary por- 
tions of the Scriptures stand in a common relation to 
the apostolic office. 

The selection of the individual books for the 
Canon is to be regarded as proceeding analogously 
with the selection and combination of the historical 
elements. We are not to conceive of a definite and 
final decision given by apostolic authority, but of the 
gradual adjudication upon extant works, professedly 
Christian, by the Spirit which was common to the 
whole church. While, therefore, the Scriptures are 
to be subject to the freest investigation, the self- 
recognizing activity of the Holy Spirit in the church 
warrants the statement that the various books of the 
New Testament were given by that Spirit, and the 
collection of the same has been made under his 

The Scriptures of the Old Testament cannot be 
allowed to claim the same dignity. The spirit of the 
Old Testament is not the spirit of the New, because 
it is the spirit of law. Its place in our Bible and 
the customary use of it in Christian teaching are owing 
partly to the manner in which Christ and his apostles 
and the early Christians in general made reference 
to it when as yet the Canon of the New Testament had 
not been formed, and partly to the historical connec- 
tion between the Christian church and the Jewish 
synagogue (§§ 128-32). 

2. The ininisiry of the Divine Word. — The preach- 


ing of Christ was a presentation of himself. The 
preaching of the Christian communion is the presenta- 
tion of Christ. But since this communion is the image 
of Christ, its preaching is also self-presentation. Self- 
presentation is self -communication to those who are 
receptive of it, and therefore we may say that the 
common spirit of the communion, which is just that 
which constitutes it a communion, communicates itself 
as the Spirit of Christ to those who assume a receptive 
attitude toward it. This Spirit which Christ him- 
self communicated is the Holy Spirit which gave the 
Scriptures, and thus the self -communication of the 
Christian communion is a supplying of the Divine 
Word and must always submit to the test of con- 
formity with the Scriptures. 

Now each member of the communion, in his par- 
ticipation, to some degree, in this work of self-com- 
munication, seeks to present only that in himself which 
is of Christ, and to that degree he is an organ of the 
divine word. The influence of the members is mutually 
exercised and it is exerted through all the various 
activities of life without any definite plan or conscious 
arrangement. But owing to difference of tempera- 
ment, talent, outer circumstances, and breadth of 
Christian experience, these activities of the members, 
both upon one another and upon the world, vary in 
degree and extent, some members being prevailingly 
active and others prevailingly receptive. And inas- 
much as the common spirit of the communion must 
find expression in the orderly public assembly and 


the organized work of the Christian society, it becomes 
necessary, so as to secure an orderly and regular min- 
istry, to set some individuals formally apart to the 
public service of the Divine Word. They can perform 
this only w^hen they represent the communion as organs 
of its common spirit. And therefore they are to be 
designated to their office by the act of each several 
communion in which they inhere. Yet, of course, the 
occupants of church offices are not to be considered 
as exhausting its spiritual activities so as to preclude 
the spontaneous exercise of his gift on the part of 
each member of the formation of religious associa- 
tions within the church. If the whole of the Chris- 
tian communion could express itself in the doctrines 
and rules which the church sets forth and which these 
ministers as organs of its spirit declare, then these 
doctrines and rules and the public preaching of them 
would be free from error. But spatial and temporal 
relations render this impossible. Hence the necessity 
of binding the public ministry of the word to the Holy 
Scriptures (§§ 133-35)- 

3. Baptism. — Baptism is an act of the church by 
which it signifies its will to receive an individual into 
its communion. The common spirit of the communion 
being Christ's spirit, its act of reception succeeds upon, 
and takes the place of, Christ's personal act of choos- 
ing individuals for his fellowship during his ministry, 
and it occurs as an act of faith in his promise, which 
is attached to the baptismal act. Therefore, since 
communion with Christ, regeneration, and justifica- 


tion are fundamentally one, the act of baptism is to 
be regarded as indicating the exercise of God's justi- 
fying activity upon the individual baptized and as 
conveying the assurance of this possession. Were the 
whole church present and represented in the act, be- 
cause of the activity of the Holy Spirit in all its ful- 
ness within the church, the highest canonical authority 
would attach to its decree : the baptismal act and the 
new birth would absolutely coincide. This, of course, 
is not demonstrably the case, and therefore there is no 
absolute coincidence between the administration of 
baptism and the extension of Christian fellowship. 

The act of baptism has an inner and an outer side. 
The inner side is the spiritual intention to receive the 
baptized into the communion from which issue all 
the operations of the Spirit which effect the new 
birth, and the outer side is the physical act through 
which the intention is conveyed. Hence it is not cor- 
rect to say that the baptism is conditioned by the new 
birth, because that is to presuppose an activity in 
the church prior to being received in it, which is ab- 
surd. On the contrary, then, we must say that the 
new birth is conditioned by baptism, that is, when 
baptism is taken to be the final act in that series in 
which the church expresses its will to extend itself, 
which it can do only by receiving new members. Ac- 
cordingly it is through baptism rather than through 
the fluctuating experience of sanctification that we 
become personally assured of possessing the new birth. 
But of course this assertion is to be understood not in 


reference to the mere external act but the motives 
which underHe it. This assertion of the vaHdity of 
the act in view of the intention is not to be understood 
as referring to the definite consciousness of the ad- 
ministrator, but as referring to the church, whose act 
it is. Hence its vahdity for the entire church, even 
though it be administered by one of the relatively 
opposed societies into which the church is divided. 
For in all of these the ordinance is referred back to 
Christ's own institution (Matt. 28:19, 20; Mark 
16:16). The baptized accepts the church's intention, 
and hence his faith is necessary to the fulfilment of 
that intention. His faith is the individual act of self- 
appropriation of the perfection of Christ, but with 
it there is also the appropriation of the blessedness of 
Christ which is enjoyed only in the communion of 
believers. He who believes will enter this fellowship. 
This is done in baptism, which is properly called the 
Seal of divine grace. Yet the absence of faith at the 
time on the part of the person baptized does not in- 
validate the act or render necessary the repetition of 
it on the rise of faith ; but the reception into the com- 
munion remains incomplete, just as it does also when 
faith exists but baptism has not been performed. In 
the former case the baptism looks forward to a faith 
yet to be exercised ; in the latter case it looks back. 
Therefore it is true, in both cases, that baptism as 
the act of receiving the individual into the communion 
conveys the title to participation in the perfection and 


blessedness of Christ which is the essence of the Chris- 
tian communion. 

Thus infant baptism is vahd, but only when respect 
is had to a confession of faith, to be made consequent 
upon perfected instruction, as the final act pertaining 
to that instruction. Though there are no traces of 
infant baptism in the New Testament, it is justifiable 
on the grounds of the necessities of the church and 
the demands of the parental feelings of those who are 
members thereof (§§ 136-38). 

4. The Supper. — Beginning with a baptism prop- 
erly administered the Christian has an experience of 
blessedness in Christ. But the development of this 
consciousness is not steady and uninterrupted; hence 
arises the necessity that our consciousness of blessed- 
ness should be confirmed and strengthened. Christian 
blessedness, outwardly regarded, is a communion with 
other believers ; inwardly regarded, it is a communion 
with Christ, a personal (individual) attitude toward 
him. These are coincident and reciprocally operative. 
Against both of these two sides of the Christian life, 
the repressive influence of the world is continually at 
work. Hence arises the necessity for private medita- 
tion on the one hand — for hereby the believer excludes 
the influences of the world by presenting Christ to 
himself out of the Scriptures — and for public divine 
service on the other — for the mutual fellowship of be- 
lievers is strengthened and stimulated by the exhibition 
of a common Christian love. And this at the same 
time both expresses and comprises the fellowship of 


each one of them with Christ. To this latter, the public 
divine service, the Supper belongs. 

Christians do experience in the Supper a peculiar 
strengthening of their spiritual life, and have done so 
ever since the time of its institution by Christ. In it 
Christ is presented to them. In the public gathering 
of the church as such, he supplies a participation in 
his flesh and blood. In this connection two questions 
arise: (i) How does the Supper as a supplying of 
the flesh and blood of Christ relate itself to that 
purely spiritual participation which he himself declared 
to be necessary? (2) How does the Supper as a 
constituent part of public divine service distinguish 
itself from other parts of the same? 

To begin with the latter : The Supper is distin- 
guished from all other kinds of public worship in 
that, while in other forms of worship the degree in 
which the different members of the communion are 
actively or receptively related to one another varies 
according to their gifts and their place in the com- 
munion, in the Supper all the members are similarly 
placed in a receptive relation to the blessedness of 
Christ. The administrator is nothing more than the 
organ of Christ's institution. The inworking of this 
blessedness in the case of each believer proceeds solely 
and immediately from Christ himself, through the 
word of institution in which the redeeming and com- 
munion-forming love of Christ is presented and ever 
operates as a stimulus to piety. The peculiarity of 
the Supper is this individual and exclusive immediacy 


of presentation of Christ, this independence, in its 
working, of all changing personal conditions and 

In regard to the former question : In that discourse 
of Christ where he speaks of the necessity of eating 
his flesh and drinking his blood he had neither the 
Supper nor another definite action in mind, but he 
referred to the periodic renewal of our fellowship 
with him. The Supper lends itself naturally to such 
a description. In the Supper each member is conscious 
of a sympathy with all the others, so that as he knows 
that the others more closely unite themselves to Christ 
in it, he feels that he also is more closely united there- 
by to them all. Thus each member represents to the 
others the whole society, and indeed the whole Chris- 
tian communion. But this spiritual benefit is de- 
pendent on the definite observance of the rite which 
has been blessed and sanctified through the word of 
Christ. In and for itself there is nothing incompre- 
hensible in the ordinance. 

Consequently the teaching of the Roman Catholic 
church is false when it affirms both that the union of 
the elements with the body and blood of Christ is ac- 
complished and that the spiritual benefit is attached 
to the elements of the Supper through contemplation 
and veneration of them, apart from the act of par- 
ticipation : for this is to make its effect of a magical 
character. Those sacramentarians are also in error 
who see in the elements only a representative image 
of spiritual participation. We hold, on the contrary, 


that the response to Christ's invitation to spiritual eat- 
ing and drinking of himself is so actualized in the 
Supper through the word of institution, that believers 
find spiritual participation assured to them in the 
sacramental act which, when rightly administered, is 
an unfailing means of access to it. Similarly we re- 
ject the view of those who deny the connection between 
the Supper and spiritual participation in Christ and 
regard it as a command of Christ to be observed for 
all time in the church, simply as a testimony or con- 
fession. For in the first place this view robs the 
Supper of its pre-eminence as a public service; and in 
the next place it destroys its identity at all times. For 
in its original institution there were none present to 
whom the disciples could give their testimony, and 
there have always been other means by which the 
members of the church recognize their mutual faith. 
Any view of the Supper is defective which fails to 
see in it a renewal of the assurance of the forgive- 
ness of sins, that is, of fellowship with Christ, which 
is subject to interruptions by the consciousness of sin. 
Thus as baptism by uniting us with the body of Christ 
introduces the consciousness of regeneration (the cer- 
tainty of forgiveness), so this repeated presentation 
of Christ in the Supper by the whole society of believ- 
ers confirms the certainty of forgiveness by strength- 
ening and restoring the interrupted consciousness of 
regeneration. This is ministered in the Supper by 
the assembled community of faith, for union with 


Christ (which is forgiveness) is not to be thought of 
apart from the union with beHevers (§§ 139-42). 

5. The office of the keys.—U the church were a 
perfect whole with nothing of the world in it, so that 
every individual within it would be a perfect organ 
of the common spirit, then the will of the whole church 
would be the will of every individual member. But 
since this is not the case, and since there arises in 
every individual some opposition to the will of the 
common spirit of Christ, that zvill comes to him as 
law. Where the individual member is definitely not 
subjected to it, then the church counts him as not truly 
a member. This legislative and judicial activity of 
the church is simply the perpetuation of the legislative 
and administrative power of Christ, which inheres in 
the church by virtue of its possession of his spirit; it 
is an exhibition of his kingly activity. 

Every new subjection of an individual life to this 
activity of the church is a new acquisition achieved by 
its common spirit. Then the church, by extending to 
the individual the God-consciousness which is to supply 
to him the law of his spiritual life, first affords to him 
an entrance into the communion and afterward as- 
signs to him his definite and proper place w^ithin it. 

The church, then, according to Christ's own ut- 
terances, has the power of binding : that is, it deter- 
mines through command and prohibition what may 
or may not be done; and of loosing: that is, of leaving 
certain matters to be determined by the individual. 
The limit of this power of the church is assigned by 


the necessity of preserving the common mind or feel- 
ing; as when, for example, some individual member 
does that which, if left unreproved, would damage 
the well-being of the others, or when some individual 
places the persons of others in contempt by setting 
himself above them so as to try to make his personal 
act or thought the will of the common spirit. 

But just because this kingly activity of Christ in 
the church is living and abiding, there can be no decree 
which is final and valid for all time, but these must 
ever be subject to amendment. Hence also, there 
can be no ban of final exclusion from the church or 
abandonment of effort to bring the individual within 
its communion (§§ 144, 145). 

6. Prayer in the name of Jesus. — The church's 
historical progress in the world is opposed by obstacles 
without and within : without, by the opposition of 
that part of the world which the church has not yet 
taken possession of and assimilated; within, by the 
worldly elements remaining in each of its members. 
Hence the church's common consciousness is of its 
imperfection. Now the longing to realize the aim of 
Christ's mission being a living and abiding element 
of the church's life, this, conjoined with the con- 
sciousness of imperfection, implies on the one side a 
sense of need and on the other side a presentiment of 
what is necessary to the fulfilment of that aim. All 
progress in this direction is ascribed through the God- 
consciousness to the divine world-government, and is 
expressed in thankfulness or resignation according 


as it is realized in some particular or not. But so 
far as the matter appears undecided it is expressed 
in prayer, i.e., an inner connection between the God- 
consciousness and the wish directed toward the best 

It is inevitable that the thinking subject should 
outline in many forms the manner in which the ful- 
filment of its aim appears possible. Hence the par- 
ticular petitions in prayer. The judgment of each 
individual as to what particular occurrences would 
contribute to the end in view is, of course, defective 
and of uncertain value. Those of them who possess 
a gift analogous to the prophetic are therefore adapted 
to exercise a special influence on the whole body in 
the direction of its petitions. Beginning with Christ 
himself there have appeared from the earliest times 
individuals in whom the personal motives have been 
excluded and who possessed that foresight which 
qualified them in an eminent degree as organs of the 
common will of the church in respect to prayer. 

True prayer, which is always united to an interest 
in the kingdom of God as the church's end, is the ex- 
pression of the common spirit of the church in respect 
to its needs; i.e., it is an activity of the Holy Spirit 
in the form of anticipation and desire. 

To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray in the 
matters which concern him (Angelegenheifen), or 
(which is the same) in his mind or spirit. That prayer 
is therefore a prayer in the name of Jesus in which 
those who pray occupy his relation to the kingdom of 


God, i.e., they pray in accordance with his govern- 
ment of his church. The whole church being a perfect 
reflection of Christ, that only is a prayer in the name 
of Jesus which has underlying it the total conscious- 
ness of the church, i.e., a prayer whose content has 
reference to the whole state of the church. This is 
the common prayer of the church on all occasions. 
Such prayer is always heard. This is the prayer of 
faith — not a separate faith that the prayer will be 
heard — but faith in the permanence and supreme 
worth of the kingdom of God which Christ founded. 
Every particular petition is heard so far as it agrees 
with this norm. 

Consequently, prayer is not the exercise of an 
influence upon God. Such a view of prayer postu- 
lates a reciprocation between the creature and the 
Creator, represents its effect as empirical (akin to 
magical), and contradicts the fundamental thesis of 
this work. Prayer and its fulfilment have a common 
basis in the character of the kingdom of God. For 
prayer is that Christian anticipation which is devel- 
oped out of the whole activity of the divine spirit, and 
its fulfilment is an expression of the governing activity 
of Christ in relation to the same object. In this sense 
we may say that neither one can be without the other, 
for both grow out of the same divinely ordered condi- 
tions. Thus true piety and true prayer always go to- 
gether (§§ 146, 147). 


2. The Variable Elements of the Church Owing to Its Coexistence with 

the World (§§ 148-56) 

If everyone who receives the spirit of Christianity 
retained no longer any of the characteristics of his 
former life, but became receptive solely of the common 
spirit of the church, then the separation between church 
and world would be absolute and their influence 
be merely that of reciprocal opposition and enmity. 
But though the true ego of the regenerate man is that 
of delight in the divine will, his new birth is no in- 
stantaneous transformation of his whole being. 
Worldly elements inhere in all those who constitute 
the church ; so that church and world are not spatially 
and temporally separated. At every empirical mani- 
festation of human life both appear. Where faith 
and a communion in faith are found, there also are 
sin and a communion in universal sinfulness. Onlv 
by abstraction can the church be isolated. The work- 
ings of the church, which consist in the union of the 
Holy Spirit with human nature, constitute a coherent 
and co-operative whole, but invisible, because never in 
empirical separation from the world. The totality 
of the connected operations of the Spirit constitutes 
the Invisible Church. These same operations as con- 
nected with reactionary elements of sin which appear 
in the lives of the regenerate constitute the Visible 
Church. Within the visible church, church and world 

Hence, while the whole truth of redemption be- 
comes the believer's possession through the communi- 


cation of Christ's perfection to him, and while a 
present guidance into the truth is assured by the con- 
sciousness of sonship with God in a Hfe-fellowship 
with Christ, the reaction of his former state affects 
his conceptions of Hfe and his activity; of will, so that 
there is, on the one hand, only a gradual transforma- 
tion of his ideas, and this involves inevitably a degree 
of falsity in all external expressions of this inner 
truth ; and, on the other hand, only a gradual change 
in the direction of his life-energies occurs, and this 
involves a certain degree of impurity of motive. This, 
of course, pertains to the communion as well as to the 
individual. Hence the twofold contrast between the 
invisible church and its empirical manifestation in the 
visible church, the contrast in thought and in action : 
to wit (to mention these features in the reverse order), 
while the invisible church is one, the visible church is 
divided : and while the invisible church is infallible, 
the visible church is subject to error. The invisible 
church must be one, for the spirit is one, and since 
the communion of the Spirit is just the self-recogni- 
tion of the Spirit, the invisible church must be wher- 
ever this self-same Spirit is, i.e., throughout all Chris- 
tendom. The universal impulse to externalize the 
common consciousness in determinate forms results 
in variety, difference, and separation, as a consequence 
of the antitheses an*:ecedently existent among men, such 
as arise from difference of speech, nationality, political 
and geographical relations, civilization, and many other 
inner and outer conditions. In this way arise different 


church societies (communions). But these in no wise 
involve a destruction of communion with other Chris- 
tians. Particular separations may arise through the 
workings of the Spirit as they lead to a perception and 
rejection of worldly elements which appear in the 
church, or they may arise from the opposite cause. 
In the former case the separations are only apparent. 
For the Spirit is always a principle of unity. It is 
the mind of the flesh that separates in reality. 

But at the same time, owing to the unlimited power 
of attraction possessed by the love of Christ in those 
persons in whom the Spirit dwells, there can never 
arise in one communion the desire that another com- 
munion may be annihilated ; but there must ever arise 
efforts to express the oneness of spirit in attempted 
unions. There is always the implicit acknowledgment 
that all these separated communions form, potentially, 
according to divine arrangement, a larger communion 
capable of including all Christians when the necessary 
conditions are present. If two professedly Christian 
communions have nothing in common, then one or 
both is un-Christian. But such a total annulling of 
this communion is impossible so long as both hold 
to their historical connection with the revelation pro- 
claimed in the Gospel and no other revelation is ac- 
knowledged as the basis of their origin. Hence even 
heretics are in the church after all. Present differ- 
ences and divisions in the Christian church are only 
relative and destined to disappear in the final realiza- 
tion of unity. 


The invisible church is infallible, but the visible 
chiurch is liable to error. Here we consider truth and 
error only in the religious sphere. In the activity of 
the pious consciousness truth and error are always 
mingled, because the persistence of sensuousness ren- 
ders our conception of the aim of the church and our 
relation to it more or less impure and false. Every- 
one finds the source of error in himself, and therefore 
believes it is always present in some degree in all. 
But, on the other hand, with the confession of Christ 
the truth is ever present. Hence there can be no 
church-communion which is entirely destitute of it. 

The same must have been true of the early church 
and of the apostles as individuals ; but the whole 
church and the whole truth being in the common spirit, 
the false tendencies of the individuals naturally annul 
one another, and hence the church invisible possesses 
the whole truth and is infallible. This allows, how- 
ever, that every partial-church can err even in its 
official presentations. Nor would an individual church 
at any one point of time possess the whole truth, for 
every period has its one-sidedness, which a later time 
corrects. Therefore no doctrinal statements, even if 
unanimously offered, would express final and perfect 
truth. Everyone must test them for himself and ac- 
knowledge them as Christian in so far as they har- 
monize with his personal religious consciousness or 
with Scripture. The improvement of public doctrine 
becomes not only a personal duty but also a right in 
the exercise of which he is to suffer no limitation. 


The gradual improvement of the church's doctrine 
will be a consequence. 

Now the error existing in every part of the church 
being an error in relation to the truth which it 
possesses, the degree of error must be gradually di- 
minished, the more the Holy Spirit in the church 
appropriates the organism of thought in its members. 
This is wrought out through the influence of the 
whole church upon the individual members in its 
public services, and through the influence of all those 
who are specially endowed with a clear Christian 
consciousness. We may conclude, therefore, that all 
error is finally to be banished. 

Third Division: The Perfecting of the Church (§§157-63) 

The sufficient ground of the perfecting of the 
church lies in the Holy Spirit as its common life- 
principle. That perfection implies, on the one hand, 
the expansion of Christianity over the whole earth 
and the disappearance of all other religious com- 
munions with their opposing and contaminating in- 
fluences; and, on the other hand, it implies that the 
church ceases to take the world into itself. That is 
to say, that the present increasing conflict with sin 
which is characteristic of the church militant — owing 
to the consciousness of sin which is continuously being 
renewed by the propagation of the race — gives place 
to that condition in which the church has assimilated 
the world, that is, the church triumphant. 

But our Christian consciousness is unable to set 


forth as its immediate self-expression the condition 
of the perfected church because it is without analogy 
in our experience and would exist under conditions 
entirely unknown to us. Strictly speaking, therefore, 
there can be no doctrine of that state. Yet the biblical 
prefigurations of the future life have received so 
much attention in the church that we are under the 
necessity of inquiring as to their source. None of the 
New Testament utterances on this subject can become 
to us articles of faith to be received on authoritative 
testimony because, surpassing our powers of appre- 
hension, they constitute no description of our actual 
self-consciousness, and consequently they may have 
a place in a doctrinal system (Glaubenslehre) only in 
so far as they concern the person of the Redeemer and 
our relation to him. 

Now, although faith in the persistence of the hu- 
man personality after death, or, to use the common 
expression, in the immortality of the soul, is found 
universally and prevailed in the time of Christ and 
his apostles, it is not on that account entitled to a 
place in Christian doctrine. How, then, came this 
faith to be united with our Christian religious con- 
science? There are two possible ways: either it was 
discovered by intellectual processes and became ob- 
jective truth, or it was originally given in and with 
the immediate self- consciousness with or without con- 
nection with the fundamental God-consciousness. If 
in the former way, then the doctrine pertains to the 
sphere of the higher natural science and depends on 


scientific investigation. But scientific study on the 
contrary often gives rise to opposition to the behef in 
immortality. The so-called rational proofs of im- 
mortality are nothing more than attempts to relate this 
belief to the body of scientific knowledge. To give 
these arguments a place in our Christian doctrine is 
to base dogmatics on philosophy. As to the other possi- 
bility, while there is a denial of immortality which is 
connected with atheism, on the other hand there may 
be a renunciation of personal continuance which 
springs from a view of Spirit as creative and self- 
expressive. On this view individual souls may be 
a product of the transitory action of Spirit and there- 
fore themselves transitory. This is quite compatible 
with the supremacy of the God-consciousness, the 
purest ethics, and the highest spirituality. Conversely, 
immortality may be postulated out of a selfish interest 
in the sensuous life where morality and religion are 
only a means to) enjoyment. It is evident therefore 
that faith in personal continuance is not essentially 
connected with the God-consciousness. 

The true Christian ground of the assurance of 
immortality lies in faith in the Redeemer himself. 
His confidence in his own personal continuance is seen 
in his promises of a reunion with his followers. He 
could say these things only as a human person, and 
on account of the sameness of human nature in him 
and in us the same confidence is valid in our case. 
Faith in the Redeemer demands the immutability of 
our connection with him. In that life-union with 


him lies the true Christian assurance of personal 
continuance. In this way we see that he became tlire 
mediator of immortality, not only to those who believe 
in him, but to all without exception. For if immor- 
tality had not pertained to human nature, then a union 
of the divine being with human nature constituting 
such a personality as that of the Redeemer would not 
have been possible. 

Faith in the continuance of our personality is 
naturally accompanied by an effort to represent that 
state in some of the forms of the imagination. The 
attempted solution of the problem how to represent 
the church in its perfection and at the same time the 
state of the souls of men in the future life, appears 
in the ecclesiastical doctrine of ''last things." But 
it is impossible to combine the two in one harmonious 
representation. The perfection of the church, i.e., 
an end of development (which comports with the 
idea of retribution), supposes a state of the individual 
soul entirely unlike the present; on the other hand, 
the supposition of a state of the individual soul like 
the present, i.e., a state of progressive development 
(which harmonizes with the idea of personal continu- 
ance), annuls the perfection of the church. 

Accordingly, the doctrines relating to this point 
are of less value as dogmatic than those already treated. 
They rest upon our power of anticipation, which is 
incompetent to construct a harmonious representation 
of the future state. On that account we cannot ascribe 
to the confessional articles on this question the same 


dignity as to those already treated. They may be 
designated Prophetical Articles. Continuance of per- 
sonal existence as the abolition of death appears under 
the representation of the resurrection of the body. 
The perfection of the church, as conditioned on the 
one hand by the exclusion of the unbelieving from fur- 
ther influence upon the church, appears under the rep- 
resentation of the final judgment, separation of be- 
lievers and unbelievers. As contrasted on the other 
hand^with the "church militant," and implying the 
exclusion of imperfection in believers, it is presented 
as eternal blessedness. The condemnation of unbe- 
lievers not being a matter of Christian experience is 
no separate article of faith. Finally the compre- 
hension and necessary condition of the whole is 
presented under the representation of Christ's re- 
turn (§§ 157-59)- 

• ,, 


The Synoptists report sayings of Christ before his 
death to the effect that he will come again at the fall 
of Jerusalem. Though he is not represented as re- 
peating such promises personally to his disciples in 
his resurrection communications with them, they were 
unable to conceive that those promises had been ful- 
filled. Similarly, after the destruction of the city 
the literal interpretation of his words was inconsist- 
ently retained, and even though in later times Chiliasm 
has been mostly abandoned, still the view that he will 
return in person at the end of the present condition 


of the earth has continued ahiiost universal to the 
present time. Apart from this Hteral interpretation 
we have no biblical guarantee of his personal return 
or of a universal separation of the good and the bad; 
and yet no representation of these events is possible, 
for every attempted definite image of the event dis- 
solves, and in lieu of a physical presence we are able 
to retain only his powerful activity in relation to world- 

It is evident, then, that the Christian consciousness 
of union with Christ is not satisfied with his spiritual 
presence in the church in the midst of our present 
condition of growth and change. In order to the 
realization of our personal continuance in union with 
him and, at the same time, of the perfection of the 
church, there is predicated an exercise of the sovereign 
power of Christ that puts an end to the propagation 
of the race and to the mingling of the good and the 
bad, so that by one sudden leap the church, heretofore 
subject to a wavering growth, becomes perfect. Ac- 
cordingly the second coming of Christ is conceived 
as a return to judgment, and the permanence of the 
union of the divine essence with human nature in 
Christ becomes the guarantee that this nature will not 
be subject to that dissolution which would result from 
cosmic forces. Thus the imagery of the doctrine 
results from the interest in personal continuance, but 
its certainty rests on the perfection of the church 
(§ 160). 




The consciousness of the union of the body and 
soul in our personality renders it impossible for us 
to represent to ourselves the immortality of the soul 
apart from a bodily existence, without giving up the 
identity of our personal life before death and after. 
The continuity of self-consciousness seems impossible 
apart from memory, which, like other mental func- 
tions, appears dependent on bodily relations, so that 
the existence of the soul under entirely different physi- 
cal relations would be inconsistent with its continuous 
self-identity. But the conception of the similarity of 
the present and the future life is, on the other hand, 
inconsistent with the perfection of the church. So 
that on this ground we are under the opposite neces- 
sity of conceiving the nature of the future world as 
different from the present, the body being conceived 
as immortal and sexual distinctions as lost; other- 
wise the conflict between flesh and spirit, and there- 
fore sinfulness, would remain. 

The incompatibility of the representation of future 
personal continuance with the representation of the 
perfected church further appears in the abortive at- 
tempts to offer a representation of the intermediate 
state and to adjust its relation to the resurrection state 
and to the general judgment. We conclude that it is 
impossible to present a definite and consistent represen- 
tation of the connection between the present and the 
future life. 


There remains as the essential content of this 
article: (i) the ascension of the risen Redeemer is 
only possible if there lies before all human individuals 
in the future life a renewal of organic life connected 
with our present state; (2) the unfolding of a future 
state is conditioned on the divine power of Christ and 
on cosmical changes effected through the universal 
divine world-government, though the representation 
of these changes is a problem never perfectly to be 
solved by men (§ 161). 


The fundamental idea underlying Christ's repre- 
sentation of the Final Judgment is the total separation 
of the church from the world so far as the perfection 
of the former excludes all influence of the latter. But 
to suppose that this means a total separation between 
believers and unbelievers is to conceive wrongly the 
distinction of the visible and the invisible church, 
inasmuch as it overlooks the fact that the influence of 
the world upon the church consists mainly in the fleshly 
character which inheres in believers even till death. 
Besides, a sanctification effected by such a sudden 
deliverance destroys the continuous nature of personal 
consciousness and introduces a magical element into 
sanctification, thereby compromising the value of life- 
fellowship with Christ. Further, such a separation 
of believers from unbelievers seems intended to secure 
the happiness of believers rather than their perfection, 
inasmuch as it is only by the contact of believers with 


unbelievers that many perfections of the former come 
to manifestation. Yet even that happiness would be 
destroyed by the pain which arises from sympathy with 
the lost. Finally, the contemplation of the righteous- 
ness of God, as exhibited in the final rejection of 
unbelievers, could afford no counterbalancing satis- 
faction, because the element of arbitrariness is thereby 
introduced into the idea of God. 

That which is of value in the idea of the final 
judgment is: (i) that perfect fellowship with Christ 
renders all evil non-existent for us, even in the presence 
of wickedness; (2) that if we are to conceive of the 
church as perfect while a portion of the human race 
remains excluded from the workings of its spirit, this 
is because that portion of the race is proof against it 
and consequently continues out of all contact with it 


The condition of believers after their restoration 
to life may be conceived under two forms: (i) a 
sudden, but unchanging possession of the Most High ; 
(2) a gradual elevation to the Most High but, like 
the development of Christ, without retrogression or 
conflict. But the attempt to give a representation of 
the two states introduces peculiar difficulties. The 
former annuls the connection with the present life 
and implies, in the equally perfect state of all be- 
lievers, the want of that mutual influence which is 


involved in a perfect life and necessary to its exter- 
nalization. The second would involve disharmonies 
and waverings with the consequent dissatisfaction and 
consciousness of imperfection, which in a free existence 
is consciousness of guilt. Indeed the outcome is a view 
of the future life as in all essential features a repeti- 
tion of the present. The problem therefore remains 

What, then, is that which we receive in that future 
life? The common answer is, that eternal life con- 
sists in the vision of God. But wherein does that 
consciousness of God differ from the present? In its 
immediacy in contrast with the mediate character of 
the present? But this is hardly consistent with the 
preservation of the personality. So that, from which- 
ever side the problem is approached, it seems that we 
must remain uncertain as to the manner in which the 
state which is the highest perfection of the church 
can be obtained and possessed by an immortal person- 
ality (§ 163). 


It has usually been assumed that the figurative dis- 
courses of Christ which are supposed to refer to those 
who die out of fellowship with him represent them as 
in a state of permanent unhappiness. (See Matt. 
25:46; Mark 9:44; John 5:29.) But an examination 
of the connections (Matt. 24:30-34; John 5:24, 25) 
and of passages with an opposite representation (I Cor. 
15:25, 26) throws doubt upon this view. Moreover, 


eternal condemnation cannot be conceived apart from 
such a condition as either imphes spiritual progress 
on the part of the damned or unhappiness on the part 
of the blessed. Accordingly, the milder doctrine that 
through the power of the redemption at some time 
there will be a universal restoration of all human 
souls possesses an equal right. 

Note. — All attempts to develop the idea of the individual 
future life and its relations to the present life out of the idea 
of the perfection of the church and its relation to the unper- 
fected church, or to make a place for the perfected church by 
means of the idea of the future life, turn to myths, i.e., a his- 
torical presentation of the super-historical, or to visions, i.e., an 
earthly presentation of the super-earthly. "These were every- 
where the forms of the prophetical, which in its higher meaning 
made no claim to produce a knowledge in the proper sense, but 
is only determined to shape principles already acknowledged 
into motives of action." 

Section j. Those Attributes of God Which Are Related 
to Redemption (§§ 164-69) 

For the Christian consciousness everything in the 
universe is viewed in relation to the redemption, 
either as organic to the self-expression of the awakened 
God-consciousness, or as material to be manipulated 
by it. From this same point of view the divine world- 
government requires to be described. But we are here 
to be on our guard against falling into the error of 
treating this divine government of the world as super- 
vening upon the creation in the way of something ad- 
ditional or supplementary. They are at bottom the 


same thing. The Christian faith that all things were 
made with a view to the self-revelation of God in the 
flesh and the establishment of the kingdom of God by 
the extension of that revelation to the whole range of 
human nature, requires therefore that the divine world- 
government consist in no mere isolated acts of influence 
upon a world which pursues its own course in general 
independently of such interference ; but rather the divine 
world-government and the course of Nature, the natural 
world and the kingdom of grace, fill the same sphere. 
That is to say, the whole ordering of Nature from 
the beginning would have been other than it is had 
not the redemption through Christ been determined 
for the sinning race. As for intelligences other than 
human, we have no such knowledge of their relation 
to us as would enable us to include more than our 
own human world — that realm in which redemption 
is effected — in our survey of the divine government. 
Since, as has been already shown (§ 46, note), that 
element of our self-consciousness which we call the 
consciousness of sin cannot be referred immediately 
to the divine causality, but mediately only through 
the consciousness of grace, the latter element must be 
the determining one. We may say, then, that the 
nature of things and all the complexity of their rela- 
tions have come to be what they are on account of 
the revelation of God in Christ which redeems men, 
or develops the human spirit to perfection. Conse- 
quently the whole course of human affairs and of 
natural events would have been other than it is, had 


not God decreed the union of the divine essence with 
human nature in Christ and with the communion of 
behevers through the Holy Spirit. 

Accordingly from the unity of the divine causality 
it follows that the church or the kingdom of God, in its 
whole extension and in the full efifect of its develop- 
ment, is the one object of the divine world-government, 
and every individual object of the divine government 
is such only in relation to this one object and for this 
alone. Hence the absurdity of a division of God's 
providence into general and special, and the incon- 
sistency of eternal damnation with the divine world- 

A distinction of attributes can appear in the divine 
world-government only by viewing the divine causality 
from human standpoints. As in our apprehension of 
human causality we distinguish inner intention from 
the mode of its execution, so also divine causality on 
its inner side as a unity may be described as will; but 
on its outer side in relation to its object as a manifold, 
it may be regarded as understanding. The redemption 
and the founding of the kingdom of God, in which 
there is a union of the divine essence with human 
nature, being the focal point of the divine world- 
government, the inner thought (disposition) exhibited 
in this is divine love, which is just the will to unite 
with and dwell in another. And the skill by which 
the totality of existences is subjected to this end of 
realizing the divine love is divine zvisdom, which is 
just the perfect correspondence of processes with the 


end conceived in all its relations. But while in man 
will and understanding never perfectly correspond, in 
God they are one. 

I. The Divine Love 

The divine love, as the attribute by virtue of which 
the divine nature communicates itself, is made known 
in the work of redemption. If it be objected, on the 
one hand, that this view is mystical and overlooks 
the love of God in those courses of Nature and of 
human affairs that conserve and elevate the life; and, 
on the other hand, that it is too narrow because it 
fails to recognize that all spiritual development de- 
pends on the possession of reason which is the image 
of God in man, it may be replied to the first objection, 
that the highest elevation of life is in the God-con- 
sciousness, which is suppressed outside the sphere of 
the Christian redemption ; and to the second, that while 
all men have the capacity for the God-consciousness, 
yet fear and not love pervades their minds before 
receiving Christ's redemption, and no human good 
of any kind which is not brought into connection with 
the God-consciousness can relate itself properly to the 
divine love. 

When we assert that "God is love," meaning there- 
by that love is the sole attribute which can be equated 
with the being or essence of God, we are not to be 
understood as accepting any conception of God which 
has been obtained in a speculative way, but we have 
only to show why this attribute of God is thus differ- 


entiated from the others which have been presented 

While, as has been said already, the divine omnipo- 
tence is that attribute by virtue of which all finite 
things exist, this entire divine act is thereby posited 
without motive. The same is true of the other divine 
attributes treated above. None of these can be by 
themselves original expressions of the divine essence. 
Righteousness and holiness imply the antithesis be- 
tween Good and Bad which cannot exist for God in 
himself. These attributes act in a limited sphere and 
they are subordinate to love and wisdom, that is, in 
the work of redemption they are to be reckoned as 

Again, while both love and wisdom express the very 
essence of God, we cannot say that God is wisdom as 
we say that God is love, because we have the immediate 
consciousness of love only in the consciousness of 
redemption and it is the ground of the representation 
of all the other divine attributes. It is when we ex- 
tend our personal and our race-consciousness to the 
whole complex of forces in the universe that we see 
that wisdom is the perfection of love. Where almighty 
love is, there must absolute wisdom be (§§ 166, 167). 

2. The Divine Wisdom 

According to our position in an earlier portion of 
this work, wisdom and omniscience in God are the 
same, only the former corresponds to the antecedent 
view of his operations and the latter to the consequent 


view. Wisdom is the divine work regarded as pro- 
ducing such a world as if it were an absolutely co- 
herent divine work of art; that is, such a work as, 
after the analogy of the human, constitutes a simple 
and originally perfect self-presentation or, rather, 
communication of the Supreme Being. The develop- 
ment of our consciousness of the wisdom of God 
consists in this, that this communication in its tem- 
poral progress becomes to us ever increasingly a per- 
fect presentation of the almighty love of God. 

We do not thereby admit the antithesis of end and 
means in the world, except in the sense that the means 
is embraced in the end, as a part in the whole. 

To the Christian the redemption is the key to the 
understanding of the divine wisdom, and the whole 
divine economy is interpreted in the light of the revela- 
tion of God in Christ and the Holy Spirit. But this 
by no means implies a desire to find in individual oc- 
currences a particular relation to the kingdom of God. 
This would degenerate into an opposition to scientific 
investigation. Nay, such occurrences as, presumably, 
are unconnected with the world-system and yet can- 
not be separated from human concerns, must turn to 
the damage of the progress of the redemption and 
must also be excluded from the provisions of the di- 
vine wisdom. All things in the world that can be 
ascribed to the divine wisdom must also be referable 
to the redeeming new-creating revelation of God. 
Thus the peculiar work of the wisdom of God is just 
the extension of the redemption. This means, of 


course, that the most minute investigation of the facts 
of nature and the effort to penetrate into the hidden 
depths of the divine purpose are to be commended 
(§§ 168, 169). 

Conclusion: The Divine Trinity (§§ 170-72) 

Our whole apprehension of Christianity stands or 
falls with the union of the Divine Being with human 
nature. This union appears first in the person of 
Christ, and by virtue of it the idea of redemption is 
concentrated in his person. It appears also in the 
common spirit of the church, and by virtue of this, 
the church bears and propagates the redemption 
through Christ. These are the essential elements of 
the church doctrine of the Trinity. The defense of 
the doctrine has been moved by the religious interest — 
the concern to conserve the absolute character of the 
redemption by rejecting the idea of subordinate divini- 
ties in Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is confirmed 
by the fact that those parties in the church which have 
denied the Trinity have held an entirely different view 
of the redemption on all sides of it. 

The doctrine of the Trinity is the keystone of the 
whole structure of Christian doctrine with respect to 
this essential point: the equivalence of the divine 
nature in Christ and in the spirit of the church with 
the divine nature in itself. 

But to the further elaboration of this dogma in the 
creeds and confessions the same value cannot be as- 
signed. In these the union of the divine with the human 


in Christ and in the Spirit of the church is referred back 
to an eternal separation within the Supreme Being in- 
dependently of these two acts of union. Then the mem- 
ber of this separated Being who was designated to 
the union with Jesus is named Son; and the same pro- 
cess taking place in reference to the Holy Spirit, the 
other member is called Father. In this way arose 
the description of God as a unity of essence with a 
trio of persons. But such a separation within the 
Supreme Being is no expression of a religious con- 
sciousness and never could be. 

Such a doctrine of the Trinity cannot be made to 
rest upon the Logos-doctrine of John's Gospel, for 
this logology has seemed to afford support to the 
Arian and Athanasian formulae alike, and its inter- 
pretation is not settled. If such a doctrine was in 
John's mind, why did he not set forth a similar state- 
ment concerning the Holy Spirit, especially since he 
mentions the Spirit so frequently in his gospel, and 
why did he offer no caution against polyolatry? 

Nor can this doctrine be framed from the state- 
ments of Christ and his apostles as a combination of 
authoritative testimonies concerning a supersensuous 
fact. That would be just as little a doctrine of faith 
{Glauhenslchrc) in the original and proper sense of 
the word as are the doctrines of the resurrection and 
the ascension. Moreover this supposedly transcen- 
dental fact does not affect our faith in Christ or our 
fellowship with him. 



Note. — A doctrine of the Trinity derived from universal 
conceptions, or a priori, could have no place in Christian doc- 
trine, even if there were a verbal coincidence, and could render 
no service to it. Such a doctrine in itself would not be of a 
religious character for its source is different. 

The difficulty of conceiving each of three persons 
as equal to two others and to the divine essence is 
beyond the compass of thought. If the Godhead of 
all three be less than the one supreme Essence, then 
our life- fellowship with Christ and our participation 
in the Holy Spirit are no fellowship with God, and 
all that is most valuable in Christianity is altered. If 
each be equal to the others, the difficulty is to find the 
rule for the distinction of the persons without the 
introduction of some elements that involves inequality. 
This is manifest in the Catholic statements of the 
doctrine. Similar contradictions appear in the canons 
which have been offered for the representation of the 
relation of the triplicity of persons to the unity of 
the Essence. If we assume triplicity we do not reach 
the unity, and if we assume the unity there is no room 
for triplicity. We possess no analogies whereon to 
base such a representation. The ecclesiastical doc- 
trine, therefore, can furnish no support to the funda- 
mental truth of Christianity. 

The same difficulty arises when we attempt to 
relate each and all of the three persons to the divine 
causality. The dogmaticians have felt this, for they all 
assume the divinity of the Father and attempt to prove 
that of the Son and the Spirit, which shows that not- 


withstanding formal orthodoxy they actually follow 
Origen in holding that the Father alone is absolutely 
God and that Son and Spirit are God only by partici- 

The traditional trinitarian formulae come to us 
from a time when the great mass of Christians were 
recently recruited from heathenism. It was a very 
easy matter for echoes of heathen thought to steal in 
when the question of plurality or distinction in God 
was discussed, and it is just as natural to find that 
the definitions presented in those earlier times should 
be quite unsuited to later times when a mingling of 
heathen elements is no longer to be feared. If the 
value of the doctrine lies in the affirmation that God 
is in Christ and in the common spirit of the church, 
then there arises the problem how to relate the pe- 
culiar existence of God in another to his existence in 
and for himself and in relation to the world in general. 
But there is no prospect of obtaining a formula which 
will be sufficient for all time inasmuch as, since we 
have to do only with that God-consciousness which 
is given in our self-consciousness and with the world- 
consciousness, we have no available formula for the 
expression of the existence of God in himself as dis- 
tinct from his existence in the world, and we are 
driven to borrow the desired formula from specu- 
lation ; but that is to be untrue to the nature of 
dogmatics. And inasmuch as all our dogmatical ex- 
pressions for the relation of God to the world are 
unavoidably anthropomorphic, how can we expect to 


avoid the same defect when we approach the compH- 
cated problem of distinguishing the peculiar (per- 
sonal) existence of God in Christ as an individual 
and his existence in the church as a historical whole 
from the omnipotent presence of God in the world 
in general, of which the other two are yet only parts? 
It is evident that the solution of the problem of 
the Trinity can be only approximate and progressive. 
Interest in it must rise ever afresh. We can expect 
no final statement. It will remain a problem. The 
customary placing of the doctrine of the Trinity at 
the head of the dogmatical system gives the mislead- 
ing impression which, nevertheless, the history of 
the church contradicts, that the acceptance of this 
doctrine is the indispensable condition of faith in the 
redemption and in the founding of the kingdom of 
God in Christ and in the Holy Spirit. Such a pro- 
cedure results in making speculation rather than the 
Christian consciousness the basis of Christian doctrine. 



A clear apprehension of the value of Schleier- 
macher's theological system is not to be obtained apart 
from an examination of the manner in which the 
treatment of religious questions by the Christian 
scholars of modern times has been affected by his 
views, and a consideration of the extent to which his 
doctrinal discussions supply a solution of the diffi- 
culties that confront faith at the present. The amount 
of attention that is now being given by German stu- 
dents to this subject is significant of the large place 
he has secured among his countrymen, and a broad 
survey of the direction of religious thought in the 
world at large indicates the prophetical character of 
his insight into the religious needs of our own day. 
All that will be attempted in the present connection 
is to offer a few suggestions respecting the worth of 
his system that may be of some use to the reader 
whose acquaintance with recent theological specula- 
tion is limited. 

There were some among Schleiermacher's con- 
temporaries who saw that the publication of his mature 
views in Der christliche Glaubc constituted a notable 
landmark in Christian thought. His friend Gass wrote 
(see the entire letter in Schlciermachcrs Bricfzvechsel 
mit Gass, Berlin, 1852, pp. 193 ff.) in November, 1822 : 
"On this point no man shall dispute me, that with thy 



dogmatics a new epoch will begin not only in this 
discipline but in the whole of theological science." 
The truth of this prediction soon began to appear. 
A succession of notable German theologians received 
their theological impulse from him, and while scarcely 
any one of them can be called a mere disciple of 
his, for he founded no school of thought strictly 
speaking, an important part of their contributions to 
theology consists in the development of the fruitful 
ideas found in germ on almost every page of his great 
work. Men like Nitsch, Twesten, Schweizer, Hof- 
mann, Julius Miiller, the famous present-day thinkers 
of the Ritschlian school, such as Harnack, Kaftan, and 
Herrmann, gladly admit their indebtedness to him, 
while Albrecht Ritschl, who gave to this school its name, 
owes a large portion of the fabric of his system to 
Schleiermacher. Even during his lifetime Schleier- 
macher's influence was powerfully felt in Germany. 
No doubt the peculiar charm of his personality had 
something to do with it, but the warmth of his piety 
and the vigor of his thinking are the chief reasons. 
For the impression made by his views has increased 
with the passage of time and the interest in them con- 
tinues unabated to the present. No school of religious 
thought in that country is without elements of theology 
derived from him, not even the school that seems the 
most opposed to him, the Hegelian. By his recogni- 
tion of the originality of the religious endowment and 
his insistence on its basic relation to all the forms of 
religious expression, by his admission of the full right 


of biblical criticism and at the same time his demand 
for a religious interpretation of Scripture, and by 
his tendency toward free-churchism as opposed to 
state-control he became the head of a liberal move- 
ment which adopted his free attitude toward the 
creeds. On the other hand, by taking his stand dis- 
tinctly within Protestantism and seeking to find in the 
accepted creeds and confessions an inner connection 
with the Christian religion in the wide sweep of its 
implications, he imparted a stimulus to those con- 
servative "confessional" theologians who aimed at 
maintaining the authority of the standards of the 
Lutheran and Reformed churches. At the same time 
the school of mediating theologians found a fore- 

• runner in him. The general dependence on Schleier- 
macher is evident in the attempts of men of all schools 
to solve the problems of theology along the lines sug- 
gested by him and to clear his system of what seemed 

• to them defects. What is true of Germany is true 
in an appreciable degree of England and America. 

• Modern theology is in no small degree a development 
of the ideas of Schleiermacher. 


In his Outlines of Theological Science {Kurze 
Darstellung des theologischen Studiiims), to which 
reference has been made in an earlier part of this 
work, Schleiermacher had presented a scheme of the 
treatment of the science of theology as a whole, ex- 


hibiting its various disciplines as expressive severally 
of a fundamental religious principle and as constituting 
in their mutual relations and their inner unity an or- 
ganism of the Christian consciousness. In his Glan- 
benslehre (the systematic presentation of the Christian 
faith, which has been set forth in the body of this 
work) this conception of theology was carried out 
more in detail and at great length in the section on 
dogmatics. Instead of the haphazard treatment of 
the common theological disciplines which, unfor- 
tunately, is still very general among theologians and 
in which the arrangement and method of treatment 
are determined largely by empirical considerations, 
with the result that each of these disciplines holds 
a purely contingent place in our religious reflection, 
their very existence and their integration in a system 
are made dependent on their fundamental relation to 
a determinate mode of faith. For example, apolo- 
getics, church history, practical theology, are not to 
be brought to the service of Christianity from without 
or borrowed from philosophy or science, but they 
spring out of the very nature of the Christian spirit 
as it seeks to express and propagate itself. Accord- 
ingly their value is always to find its main test in their 
faithfulness to the religious attitude of mind out of 
which they spring. In consequence theology is pre- 
served from degenerating into a cast-iron system of 
doctrine or a system of mechanical rules w^hich cramp 
and paralyze the spirit. Instead, there arises the 
necessity of the free development of theology pari 


passu with the free activity of the spirit of religion. 
In this way Schleiermacher helped to save Protestant 
theology from the withering effects of an orthodox 
despotism and a dry scholasticism and made it live 
again. Notwithstanding his inadequate apprehension 
of the nature of religion in general and his defective 
view that theology arises out of church needs and 
finds its aim in church guidance, it is to his lasting 
credit that he pointed out that the value of theological 
science and the direction of its development must al- 
ways be determined by its relation to practical religious 
needs — in the case of Christianity to the imperative 
propagation of the Christian faith. That is, Chris- 
tian theology serves its end only when it becomes a 
support and a guide to Christian evangelism. 

Closely allied to this service is another of like kind. 
Before his time an assumption common to the orthodox 
and the rationalists was that theology presents to our 
minds a sum of objective facts or truths, whether the 
knowledge of them came by external communication 
or sensible observation or by philosophical reflection 
aided and supplemented by inference. Religious faith 
was a consequence of receiving this objective knowl- 
edge. It requires only a little reflection to see that 
in any instance the theory makes the scientist, the 
philosopher, or the theologian an authority in religion 
to which the consciousness of the common man is 
subject. When, as is sure to happen with progress, 
portions of this supposed knowledge turn out to be 
unreliable or even bogus, faith is shaken or shattered 


and the spirit is kept in terror of losing its hold on 
reality by the discovery of new facts that contradict 
the system of knowledge out of which its religion 

A came. Schleiermacher's insistence on the original 
relation of the religious experience to theology and 
doctrine elevates the life of the common man, curbs 
the proud spirit of the intellectual aristocrat, and gives 
to faith its rightful place as the root rather than the 
product of the progress of knowledge. 

* Schleiermacher's influence contributed to introduce 
a new treatment of several of the theological disci- 
plines, particularly the Philosophy of Religion, Apolo- 
getics, Church History, and Dogmatics. 


The earlier sporadic attempts at a philosophy of 
religion proceeded according to a wrong method and 
on false assumptions. The opponents of orthodoxy 
attempted to adjust the facts of religion to an abstract 
doctrine of the world or of human nature arrived 
at independently of an analysis of the religious con- 
sciousness or of its actual history. The orthodox 
theory, in turn, was rather a philosophy of revelation 
or of the "plan of salvation." Both sides proceeded 
in ignorance of the facts when they assumed that the 
history of religion was a history of the increasing 
corruption of the original pure religion. Schleier- 
macher compelled theologians to approach the matter 
• from a new viewpoint : First, by emphasizing the his- 
torical character of Christianity and placing it in a defi- 


nite relation to the progress of religion in general, he 
drew attention to the basis of fact, without which a 
philosophy of religion is a worthless speculation, and 

• gave a profound significance to it. By thus supplying 
an impulse to the comparative study of religions he 
forced the abandonment of the customary contrast be- 
tween Christianity as the exclusively true religion and 
all other religions as exclusively false, which, as Pro- 
fessor Brown {Essence of Christianity, p. 175) points 
out, had been characteristic of Christian thought on 
the subject from Barnabas to Kant. While the state 
of the knowledge of the history of religions at the 
time rendered his own philosophy of religion of little 
lasting worth his conception of the subject anticipated 
modern methods. 

Second, holding religion to be an essential element 
of our self-conscious existence and viewing man 
whether in the individual or in the race as a unity, he 
pointed out that the unfolding of the religious life is 
bound up with the whole of our symmetrical human 
progress from the lower plane of the flesh to the higher 
plane of the spirit. There are inklings of this view 
in Lessing and Hume, but Schleiermacher was the 
first to present it in a well-thought-out form. In no 
other way can we attain to a philosophy of religion 

• worthy of the name. A fine statement of his service 
in this field is given by Bender (Schleiermachers 
Theologie mit ihren philosophischen Grundlagen, Vor- 
wort, iv) : "Schleiermacher's greatest service is the 
fruitful application of the analytical method to the 


investigation of the religious process in itself and in 
its relation to the whole spiritual (intelligent) life; 
and as a complement to this ever one-sided subjective 
method he emphatically postulated the comparative 
investigation of positive religions : that has been the 
firm starting-point and central viewpoint of all suc- 
ceeding theology." 


Apologetics has been recast. The age that closed 
with Hume and Kant was prolific in apologies for 
Christianity, but they all were cumbered with the 
false assumption that was held in common by the 
orthodox and the rationalists, that religion consists 
of doctrines to be believed. The difference between 
them was in the quantum of the credenda. Depend- 
ence on external authority turned apologetics into a 

f collection of "evidences." With his usual keen dis- 
cernment of the problems of his time Schleiermacher 
saw that the first need of the apologist was a new 
definition of that which was to receive its theoretical 
justification, a new statement of the essence of Chris- 
tianity. Herein he recognized the historical relation 
of apologetics to dogmatics : it is the prius of dog- 

t There were two contentions urged by him : first, 
that religion is an integral and necessary element of 
our self-consciousness and hence our recognition of 
this fact must be distinguished from our estimate of 
its value ; second, that Christian faith is related funda- 


mentally to the person of Jesus Christ. It is to be ad- 
mitted, of course, that he did not himself realize fully 

• the value of a historical study of our religion. His own 
view of Christ was speculative rather than historical. 

« In this he shared the defects of his time, and yet it 
remains to his credit that, as Brown says {op. cit., p. 
176) : "Schleiermacher was the first modern theologian 
to write a definition of Christianity in which the name 
of its founder occupies the central place." Here again 
he prepared the way for modern developments. The 
Life-of-Jesus movement is a part of the new tendency 
he inaugurated. 

The battle on behalf of Christianity has been 
fought on side-issues too long. The scattered and 
ill-ordered defense which till very recent times has 
been characteristic of English and American apolo- 
getics must at length make way for an analysis of its 
fundamental nature, a valuation of its traditional ele- 
ments and a philosophy of its beliefs, if the needs of 
our times are to be met. 


Apart from the consideration that Schleiermacher's 
view of the teleological nature of the Christian re- 
ligion and his emphasis on the cardinal relation of its 
Founder toward it strengthened the new interest in 
church history, this department of theology was in- 

• fluenced by him in a special way. It was mainly 
through reading the Discourses (Reden) that the 
great Neander was led from Judaism to a warm 


Christian faith. The pecuHar stamp of his great 
teacher can be detected in Neander's treatment of 
church history as history of the Christian rehgion. In 
our times the value of Schleiermacher's insight into 
the relation of religion to the origin and life of the 
religious community appears in the gradual displace- 
ment of ecclesiastical history by the history of re- 


t It is most of all in the department of dogmatics 
that Schleiermacher's theological influence has been 
manifest. His principles lead to the annihilation of 
dogma in the old sense of a formal doctrine neces- 
sary to salvation. Dogma in that sense is promulgated 
by authority. Its truth is independent, and it is to 
be received independently, of experience; it is a law 
to faith rather than an utterance of faith. Christian 
dogmas were a determination of the course the Chris- 
tian religion in man must take, rather than a descrip- 

• tion of the course it actually does take. The Christian 
religion was at the bottom statutory and its experi- 
ential character a matter of secondary importance. 

• The whole Roman Catholic system rests on this as- 
sumption, and Protestant theology unfortunately fol- 
lowed, the difference between them being in degree. 

• The difference that was most in evidence was in the 
authority obeyed. Hence traditional Protestantism 
held to certain doctrines as authoritatively revealed 
truths. When their unification was not accomplished 
the doctrines of the faith appeared as so many membra 


disjecta. This was the form in which theology ap- 
peared in Melanchthon's Loci Communes and which 
German dogmaticians inherited from him. 

• By exhibiting Christian doctrine as the expression 
of a distinct type of reHgious Hfe Schleiermacher in- 
augurated a revolution in the conception and method 

# of Christian theology. He elevated the conscious inner 
life above formal doctrine and subjected the latter to 
the test of conformity to the former. He made the- 
ology a descriptive rather than a normative science. 
* » Doctrinal forms become fluent rather than static. They 
become symbols of a progressive religious life and at 
the same time a means of its further development, 
which again reacts upon the doctrinal statements, so 
that they become in time evidently inadequate and must 
submit to reconstruction. 

♦ His position involved a radical change in the com- 
mon view of the source and authority of Christian 

* doctrine. The Bible was regarded as a body of di- 

• vine legislation or pronouncements. The proof-text 
method of handling the Scriptures was a consequence. 
The violence thereby done to the Scriptures and to 
Christianity itself is plain to us today. 

Schleiermacher saw that within and behind and 
beyond the Bible there was a power of spiritual life 
of which our Christian doctrines become such in- 
terpretations as the human mind at any stage of its 
progress is capable of giving to this vital reality. The 
various doctrines arise out of the manifold relations 
of the spirit of Christianity to the world of experience 


which itself is ever changing. This interpretation of 
the place of doctrine connects Schleiermacher with 
the Anabaptists and the early utterances of Luther 
rather than with the confessional bodies. 

« We may claim, therefore, that Schleiermacher has 
not only liberalized Protestant theology and paved 
the way for a new basis and a new method of treat- 
ment, but he has also spiritualized and Christianized 

• it. For the liberalism of Schleiermacher was not the 
liberalism of the rationalists and the "free-thinkers" 
who have reduced the content of religion to the limits 
of their boasted "reason" ; but it was a liberalism that 
grew out of the consciousness of a life in communion 
with God which is unutterably rich and cannot submit 
to limitation by the forms of thought or worship or 
organization that have arisen at any period of its 
• • history. He has Christianized theology. For by pos- 
iting the essence of Christianity as the basic principle » 
of any system that can claim to exhibit Christian 
truth, and by finding in the person of Christ in his 
redemptive relation to us the root of all that is Chris- 
tian, he pointed out the means of differentiating the 
truly Christian from the pseudo-Christian doctrines. 
Many objections have been made to the general 
principles of his dogmatics. Of these objections we 
may notice three : First, it is said that his conception 
of theology is subversive of the authorit}'' of all doc- 
trine. It is true that the separate authority of all doc- 
« trinal formulae is destroyed. Authority is transferred 
to the religious spirit — let us say, the Spirit of God, 


• Authority, nevertheless, remains, not legal, but dy- 

• Second, it is said that Schleiermacher's view makes 
religion individualistic and subjective and does away 
with its normative character. There is no space here 
to answer this objection at length, but this may be 

« said in reply: Religion that is not a matter of sub- 
jective experience is not religion at all, and doctrine 
that does not express subjective conviction is meaning- 
less or worse; while it is also true that every man 
must be his own theologian, whatever the consequences. 

t At the same time Schleiermacher has indicated a way 
of escape from mere subjectivism by emphasizing 
the communion- forming power of Christian faith. 
Through the continuity and development of the Chris- 
tian communion a continuous and normal and therefore 
normative character is secured. 

i Third, objection is made to his classification of 
dogmatics under the head of historical theology, and 
with reason. For the aim of dogmatics is to set 
forth the doctrines that are essential to Christianity, 
that is, to arrive at a final and complete statement of 
Christian truth. Yet it is to be remembered that final 
truth or truths can only approximately be known by 
us. All dogmas indicate simply stages in our ap- 
proach to this goal and must be arranged in an order 
of succession upon earlier attempts to do the same 

9 thing. Our dogmas may have final value for our- 
selves, but for coming generations their value will be 


We conclude this part of our estimate by saying 
that/Schleiermacher has rendered a priceless service 
to theological science by compelling the Christian 
thinker to recognize the vital relation of the inner life 
to all fundamental doctrinal formulation and the neces- 
sity of testing the value of it by the worth of its 
ministry to that life. 



It is in the actual working out of his theological 
scheme that Schleiermacher's defects as well as his 
virtues as a theologian become most evident. A 
few of the most important elements of his system are 
here selected for comment with the aim of suggesting 
lines of criticism that may be carried out through 
the body of his theology. 


The first thing to notice in Schleiermacher's defini- 
tion of religion is his method of reaching it. True 
to the tendency of those times to seek for an explana- 
tion of the nature of all the forms of human knowledge 
in psychology, Schleiermacher discovers religion to be 
an ultimate element of the self-consciousness. Ac- 
cepting the common division of ultimate psychic facts 
into feeling, thought, and will, he finds that religion 
is a universal human experience in the form of feeling. 
This he regards as no inference but an immediate re- 
sult of introspection. The analysis of individual ex- 


perience is supplemented and confirmed by a survey 
of the inner nature of historical religions of all grades. 

This union of the results of an examination of 
personal experience and of historic fact is certainly 
necessary in order to obtain an adequate view of the 
nature of religion, but on both sides of his investi- 
gation Schleiermacher was cumbered by doubtful pre- 

In the first place, he assumes that religion is an 
elemental fact and the discovery of the form of the 
elemental experience in which it is seen establishes 
its universality ; whereas it is certain that the religious 
experience is very complex and is interwoven with all 
our human experience. Besides, the nature of religion 
is not more truly ascertained by an examination of 
our inner experiences than it is by the survey of the 
activities which it brings into effect. Schleiermacher's 
method as carried out by him seems to make religion 
itself an effect. 

In the next place, objection must be made to his 
method of using the historical material. To seek 
for the common element in all the religions as con- 
stitutive of their essence is to treat the lower forms 
as if for purposes of definition they were as valuable 
as the higher. The true method is to discover the 
inner character of the highest religion and to interpret 
the lower forms in the light of it, to wit : that it is to be 
understood as the final expression of that which can 
now be seen in the lower in germinal form. For it is 
only in so far as the spirit of the higher form can 


be discovered operating in the lower forms that they 
are really of any value for the purposes of definition. 
I We notice, next, the definition itself. /Religion 
is described as a form of feeling rather than of thought 
or will. I think the reasons for his attempt to find 

• religion in feeling are not difficult to discover. There 
was the reaction in his mind against the traditional 
orthodoxy and the rationalism that made religion a 
matter fundamentally of the intellect and disparaged 
emotion, with the consequence that religion became 
dry doctrine or abstract morality with a dependence 

• on authority. There was also a reaction in his mind 
against Kant's theory that religion is tributary to the 
demands of the categorical imperative, its source being 
in will. On the positive side, however, his definition 
of religion is a result of his own deep emotional ex- 
perience in the devotional meetings of the Moravians, 
which never lost their worth to him, combined with 
the influence of the Romanticism that helped to banish 
the alien rationalism from his mind. 

His more complete determination of the nature 
of religion as the feeling of absolute dependence indi- 
cates to us the source of the definition. In the re- 
ligious experience there is a rich and varied play of 
emotion. Why select the feeling of absolute depend- 
ence as fundamental and solely constitutive? The 
answer is that this definition of it coincided with his 
world-view and is an inference from it. Spinoza's 
self-differentiating Substance expressing itself in an 
infinity of forms, Calvin's God the absolute Will, 


Leibnitz' monads each mirroring the universe in its 
individuality, the scientific principle of Causality as 
the final explanation of all phenomena, combined to 
impress on his mind the conception of religion as the 
expression of the unity of the universe in the human 
soul or, as otherwise expressed, the effect of which 
God alone can be predicated as the Cause. Here God 
is Causality, or, as he says in one place, God is the 

^Whence of our religious experience. Schleiermacher 
thinks God is given in and with the feeling of absolute 
dependence, but if so it is only as Causality he is 
given — he is no Personal Being. I think it is plain 
that his definition of religion is an inference from his 

conception of the world. He appears to have fallen 
into the common fault of the theologian, that of draw- 
ing his religious doctrines from his metaphysics instead 
of evolving a world-view that is a product of religious 

His account of religion is also too meager. For 
religion embraces all the activities of the human spirit. 
It is at the root of the noblest, most elevated, most 
refined feeling and also of the purest morality and the 
keenest and most comprehensive mental action. 
Schleiermacher vindicates a place for religion along- 
side of intelligence and morality, whereas it is su- 
perior to them, since it supplies the impulse to the 
cultivation of them and therefore in the best sense 
embraces them. His definition of religion makes it 
aesthetic and destitute of moral quality, and seems 
logically to make progress in religion itself impossible. 


• Notwithstanding, he has rendered valuable service 
to theology in this definition of religion by insisting 
on the worth of the emotions, so much disregarded by 

• the theologians of the day. For it is certain that there 
has never been a far-reaching revival of faith apart 
from deep emotional experience. 

More than this, Schleiermacher has himself sup- 
plied the corrective of his own defective view in his 
declaration that Christianity, the highest religion, is 
teleological in character. Religion is to be defined 
from the point of view of the end that it seeks. This 
is to deny that religion is essentially feeling, for the 
latter sort of religion would be aesthetic in character 
and not teleological. 


Any theory of religion that finds it in a simple 
psychological experience will meet with difficulty when 
it tries to relate this experience to other fundamental 
activities of our nature. It is incumbent on the theo- 
logian to show that his view of religion issues in a 
view of the world and in a morality that satisfy 
the claims of our intelligence and our conscience. The 
first of these is our present concern. If religion does 
not bring us into a knowledge of reality not otherwise 
attainable its professions remain unvindicated. 

The great question is whether in the religious ex- 
perience we come to know that God exists. If that 
experience be simply feeling, it can surely lead us 
, nowhere beyond itself. But Schleiermacher affirms 


that in the feeHng of absolute dependence God is im- 

t mediately given to the religious man. This feeling 
being original and fundamental to human nature, 
religion is freed from a dependence on a knowledge 
of God obtained beforehand by purely intellectual 
processes and from seeking its justification in the 
acceptance of a God whose existence is a postulate of 
the practical reason. He is not to be understood as 
declaring that the speculations that arrive at a predi- 
cation of God's existence are useless or invalid, but 
that the knowledge so obtained is not religious knowl- 
edge and that it can constitute no part of dogmatics. 

I We do not proceed from a knowledge of God to a 
religious experience, nor do we reason from the re- 
ligious experience to the knowledge of God, for the 
religious experience and the God-consciousness are 

• one and the same. It is not to be assumed that the 
God given in religious feeling is identical with the 
God whose existence is predicated as the outcome of 
speculative processes. That remains a problem to be 

» solved. Thus far his position is sound. 

When Schleiermacher goes on to say that we are 
aware of God as the Whence (Cause) of our religious 
self-consciousness, it is difficult to see in what respect 
this statement differs from the affirmation that the 
being of God is for us an inference from the ex- 
perience of dependence. If this be so it is not clear 
why an inference from the other forms of our ex- 
perience may not be equally valuable for our needs. 
If religion is independent of science it must surely 


be unprogressive, for there is no impulse to knowledge 
in an unqualified feeling. If, however, the religious 
experience be more comprehensively stated and is 
made to embrace the moral and the intellectual, the 
defect indicated may be overcome and the statement 
may still hold good that it is in the religious experi- 
ence that we are truly aware of God. 

If this be not granted, then we are shut up to one 
of two alternatives. Either we have only the experi- 
ence of a unique feeling or at least an idea which we 
objectify and project into a realm beyond all phe- 
nomenal existence, so that God becomes only a name 
for a certain reflection of our consciousness; or else 
for our knowledge of the existence of God we are ulti- 
mately dependent on the information which a compe- 
tent authority communicates to us. 

With regard to the second of these, even if it be 
true that we first came to believe in the existence of 
God through the affirmation of some trusted human 
friend and to that extent we obtained a knowledge 
of God's existence as a supposed fact in the same 
manner in which many other facts are made known to 
us, still the competency of any person or body of per- 
sons to witness to the existence of God as an objective 
fact cannot be admitted. Mere "information" can 
only avail to place his existence among the complex 
of observable facts, but a God whose existence can be 
so described is no God. The statement, "There is a 
God," can have meaning to anyone only on the condi- 
tion that it appeals to some want of his nature and 


makes him aware of himself in relation to his higher 

Turn to the other alternative. According to 
Schleiermacher's account, the predication of the ex- 
istence of God may be nothing more than a psycho- 
logical function. This is to leave us without any 
adequate explanation of the invincible tendency of the 
human mind to attach universal validity to its idea 
of the existence of God and at the same time to attach 
to it infinite worth. The difficulty arises out of his 
defective view of the religious consciousness. It does 
remain true that it is in the religious experience God 
is given. We become aware of him then. The ex- 
istence of God is a dogma of religious faith. 

God is an object of religious knowdedge; not that 
herein we have a positive addition to the sum of 
our knowledge, any more than in the affirmation of a 
moral judgment we introduce the knowledge of an 
additional collection of facts. Moral reality is given 
in and with moral experience. The certainty that we 
have moral knowledge is found in the moral experi- 
ence. Just so is it with religious knowledge. It 
springs out of religious experience and is implicated 
in it. That there is a specifically religious experience 
Schleiermacher abundantly established. 

The question is, Wherein does this religious knowl- 
edge consist? I apprehend that it is unnecessary to 
assert that knowledge about the objects of sense- 
perception, whether one's own or another's, cannot 
be called religious knowledge. The knowledge of 


events recorded in the Scriptures, the knowledge of 
ante-mundane or post-mundane facts, the knowledge 
of facts which angels or inspired persons are supposed 
to communicate to us, the knowledge of the state of 
departed spirits which the Society for Psychical Re- 
search may announce — none of these things, vary as 
they may from the absolutely sure and sublime to 
the absolutely ridiculous, can be designated as religious 
knowledge for us unless they have their source in a 

• religious experience. We may be made neither more 
nor less religious by getting tii+s information. Neither 

is knowledge of a moral law and its operations in 

• itself religious knowledge. Thus far Schleiermacher's 
contention must be granted. 

• But in his description of the nature of religion 
f he misses the essential point. The religious experience 

• is governed by the consciousness of personality. In 

• it the man comes to true self-consciousness. He knows 
in it his own worth because in it he comes to know 
another personality in whom he finds the fulfilment 

• of his longings and the end of his being. It is this 
recognition of and self-commitment to a personality 
in whom the desires of his soul find satisfaction that 

4 constitute his religion. Some of its forms are very 

• crude but it is universal. In many people it may appear 
first in absolute trust and devotion to a father or 
mother, or it may reach its climax in faith in Christ, 
but everywhere it consists in a personal — thinking, 
willing, feeling — relation to a dominant personality. 

• In this religious experience there is religious knowl- 


•• edge. It is the knowledge of personality. In religion 
I become aware that there is a personality to whom I 
may yield myself absolutely, to whom, accordingly. I 
« owe everything. This personality we call God. The 
relations in which I find myself with him are most 
fitly described in the terms of human, personal relation- 
ship. From this point onward we enter upon the task 
of reinterpreting the world of sensibility and the 
world of moral conduct in terms of this personality. 
This is to give a religious interpretation of the world. 
In the knowledge of God there is given, therefore, a 
knowledge of the world; not that new facts are added, 
but all facts are made new. In the capacity of re- 
ligious experience to furnish this new interpretation 
of the world the claim that we know God finds its 
final vindication. 

It is plain that Schleiermacher's view of religion 
in relation to knowledge involves a new construction 
of the idea of revelation. Kaftan {Dogmatik, § 4) 
complains, and rightly, of the obscure place he allows 
it. From his apprehension of religion as subjective 
condition rather than objective truth this is to be ex- 
pected. At the same time here also he has offered 
suggestions that go far beyond his own views. One 
of these is that, for the Christian, revelation is not to 
be considered apart from the person of Christ. An- 
other is that it inheres in his personality. A third is 
that it affects us not merely as knowing subjects but 
practically, that is, it is inseparable from the experi- 
ence of salvation. This means, substantially, that 


revelation is religious in its nature, not merely that it 
concerns religious matters, but it is not to be posited 
in any case where the religious consciousness is not 
an element in the communication of that which is re- 
vealed. Revelation can occur to any man only in so 
far forth as he is religious. Revelation is saving. 
To say that we have a revelation from God is to say 
that we have come into a consciousness of blessedness 
in relation to him. 

This seems to carry with it the acceptance of 
Schleiermacher's' contention that revelation is to be 
posited of a personality and the impression he makes 
on our minds. For the Christian, therefore, Christ 
is revelation, not merely a revealer. What he said and 
did constitute revelation to us only in that his deeds 
and words are the manifestation to us of a personality 
whose advent into the sphere of our activity effects 
a change in our relations with God. If all our rela- 
tions Godward find their determination in him, then 
he is the whole of revelation to us. That which is 
said about him is revelation in a secondary sense. No 
statement of objective fact can itself be revelation, 
for revelation is never mere information. 

The bearing of this conception of revelation on the 
import of the predictive element of the Scriptures is 
obvious. The references in the New Testament, for 
example, to the things to come appear less in the 
character of descriptions of events and conditions yet 
future, than as utterances of the assurance of faith. 
That is, our future relations to God and the course of 


affairs cannot be in opposition to our present 
state of blessedness. On such an interpretation a 
discovery that an apostohc writer was mistaken in 
regard to actual matters of fact in the present or the 
• future would give no shock to faith. It seems even 
to imply that inspired men have no knowledge of the 
future in the same sense in which we have a knowledge 
of any fact. This is the view that is brought out in 
Schleiermacher's Prophetical Articles. All eschato- 
logical representations become symbols of a spiritual 
hope, not forestatements of events. Their value con- 
sists not in any positive knowledge they convey but 
in the inspiration they give to faith and hope. For 
the times when Schleiermacher wrote this was a revo- 
lutionary interpretation of prophecy, and even in our 
own day it makes progress slowly, but it underlies 
the whole of the new movement in biblical interpre- 

# At the same time it must be maintained that there 

♦ is a knowledge of the future given to faith. For the 
believer the gospel of Christ brings a guarantee of 
the ultimate character of future events — they can 
bring him nothing but good. A forecast of the future 

• issues out of faith. It is impossible for the Christian 
to believe that he will be abandoned by God. The 
future cannot bring his blessed relation to God to an 

« end. The Christian knowledge of the future is a 

$ faith-knowledge. It is knowledge of a higher order 

than that which sense-perception or a philosophy of 

being can produce. It is a knowledge of our eternal 


relations with God without which all other knowledge 
evaporates in phantasy. Without this knowledge all 
thought of the future is bound to end in despair. It 
is the only knowledge that enables us to say that for 
men there is any future whatsoever. This is what 
gives a deep solemnity to the forecast of the future 
found in the New Testament. That forecast is based 
on the confidence that "whether we live or die we 
are the Lord's." Had we nothing more than this we 
might well rest content. 


The order in which the above words occur is in- 
dicative of the method of Schleiermacher's approach 
to the theological treatment of history. The merit of 
having been the first of modern theologians to frame 
a definition of Christianity in which the name of its 
Founder appears central is subject to qualification. The 
governing principle of his theological construction does 
not readily make room for the activity of a historical 
personage as a factor in religion. His whole system 
is rooted in a conception of religion rather than in an 
apprehension of personality. In keeping with this 
viewpoint he proceeds from a conception of the nature 
of Christianity to such a representation of the person 
of Christ as shall be in harmony with it. Consequently 
one of his chief problems is how to relate Christ to 
Christianity. The difficulty of the problem increases 
in ratio with the growth of the historical spirit and 
our progress in the knowledge of the actual events 


of Jesus' life. The modern aptitude for historical 
study had been so far aroused in his time that he felt 
the seriousness of the problem and tried to point the 
direction of its solution. In an examination of his 
speculations on the subject we are to keep in mind that, 
consistently with his mystical habit of mind and his 
relative depreciation of personality, Christ (i.e., Jesus) 
could scarcely be to him a basis of theology but rather 
a problem for theology. If some of his statements may 
be taken to represent an opposite view they are in- 
consistent with his more fundamental doctrine or they 
must be interpreted in the light of the latter. It is 
significant that he says it is open to the theologian to 
choose without disparagement either one of two 
courses : either to proceed from a doctrine of the per- 
son of Christ to a doctrine of his work or from a 
doctrine of his work to a doctrine of his person. 

Schleiermacher's representation of the manner in 
which Christ relates himself to the Christian is two- 
fold. At one time he says that everything in Chris- 
tianity is to be referred to the historical fact of Christ's 
advent into the sphere of our activity and the original 
impression his person made. That impression, he 
says, is retained in the Christian communion and per- 
petuated in the world through being communicated 
by this communion to those persons who come 
within it. 

His other statement on the subject is to the effect 
that Jesus possessed a unique God-consciousness and 
that his God-consciousness, being communicated to 


« believers, becomes redemption to them. The former 
view is connected with the idea that faith is a personal 

« act directed toward a personal object. The latter view 
is more consistent with the idea that Christ is simply 

• the first in an unbroken succession. In the one case 
Jesus seems to hold the God- relation to believers; in 
the other case he seems to stand in an archetypal rela- 

4 tion to them. In the one case Christianity is an atti- 
tude toward Christ ; in the other Christ is Christianity. 
Again, it is noteworthy that our theologian con- 
tinually uses the name Christ instead of the name 
Jesus. This is not accidental. It indicates the point 
of view from which he construes the extant materials 
relating to the historical career of Jesus. It is well 
known also that he makes the Gospel of John rather 
than the Synoptics the main scriptural source of his 
doctrine of the person of Christ. This preference for 
John's Gospel is similarly significant of his method of 
determining what elements of the gospels are of value 
for the dogmatician. The narratives are evaluated on 
the basis of a standard derived from another source. 
Only those portions are esteemed to have interest for 
the dogmatician which serve to set forth the character 
of Jesus as Redeemer. He goes even farther and de- 
cides on the same basis what sort of affirmations may 
be made concerning his mental and physical life: for 
example, that his physical, mental, and moral growth 
must have been normal. He makes the perpetuation 
of Christ's own self-presentation in the consciousness 
of the historical Christian communion the ground for 


the affirmation of a historical personal life which 
corresponds to it, for otherwise, he says, this con- 
sciousness could never have arisen. 

• In keeping with this method of construing history 
he dismisses the accounts of the resurrection on the 
ground that faith in Christ is independent of them. 

• Hereby he exposes himself to the charge which 
Schweitzer (Von Rewiarus cit IVrede, 61-66) makes 

« against him : "Schleiermacher did not seek the Jesus 
of history but the Jesus Christ of his Glaubenslehre, 
that is, the historic personality who is fitted to the self- 
consciousness of the Redeemer which he presents. The 

empirical reality simply does not exist for him 

Historical questions relating to the life of Jesus are for 
him only momenta in his dialectic." 

« The point is well taken, though overstated. It finds 
illustration in his classification of the heresies relating to 
the person of Christ. They are described, not according 
to their use of material alien to the character of Jesus 
as it is depicted in the narratives of the evangelists or 
according to their neglect of essential facts in his 
career, but according to the manner in which they 
annul the redemption as Schleiermacher conceives it. 

• That is to say, his conception of Christianity deter- 
mines his doctrine of the person of the Christ and this 
again becomes the criterion of the worth and, to some 
extent, of the trustworthiness of the New Testament 
accounts of Jesus. But in this respect Schleiermacher 
was not a "sinner above all the other Galileans." Both 
Catholic and Protestant theologians have been led to 


substitute a metaphysical concept, a hypothetical per- 
sonage, for a historical personality. Not until the Life- 
of- Jesus movement began in modern times was the loss 
» realized. Hegelianism with its Christ was just another 
case of the substitution of an abstract idea for a con- 

^ Crete person. Transcendental philosophy gave us an 
intellectual concept christened with the Redeemer's 
name, but left us to discover that in place of Jesus we 
had only an abstraction, stone instead of bread. 

The criticism that Schleiermacher failed to avoid 
the a priori method of construing the personality of 
Jesus is to be modified, however, by reference to the 
emphasis he placed on the religious experience as a 
source of knowledge. He said that the Christian con- 
sciousness is a continuation of the God-consciousness 
of Jesus. This should lead to an examination of the 
self-consciousness of Jesus, but Schleiermacher failed 
here to follow his own clue and fell back on the dog- 
matical reconstruction of the person of Christ. 

The error is a serious one from the point of view 

t of history as well as religion. Our conception of 
Christ and of the salvation he brought must evef sub- 
mit to the test of historical research if either he or 
his salvation is to be a factor in the lives of men. To 

f express the same idea in axiomatic form,>the Christ 
of theology must agree with the Jesus of the gospels. 
Nay more, that conception of salvation which is truly 
Christian, if Jesus of Nazareth is the founder of 
Christianity, must always represent such a salvation 
as could arise out of the deeds and words, the personal 


character, of Jesus. The inner certainty of a moral 
renewal coming to us in connection with our objective 
examination of the historic facts is an indispensable 
factor in our estimate of him, but it stands in the sec- 
ond rank. Otherwise we should never be certain that 
the being we call our Christ is the same with Jesus of 
Nazareth, and we might have to seek the historical 
origin of our religion in another direction. 


Schleiermacher's distinction between Protestantism 
and Catholicism has become famous : ''Protestantism 
makes the relation of the individual to the church de- 
pendent on his relation to Christ ; Catholicism makes 
the relation of the individual to Christ dependent on 
his relation to the church." It has been severely criti- 
cized by Ritschl. He says : 

This formula, however, is inconsistent with the very prin- 
ciple with which Schleiermacher enters upon the doctrine of 
redemption, namely, that the consciousness of redemption 
through Christ is referred to the mediation of his religious 
fellowship. It was only because Schleiermacher was unable 
to develop this idea that he lapsed into the opposite formula 
in his Glaubcnslehre. This formula, however, is false. For 
even the evangelical church's right relation to Christ is both 
historically and logically conditioned by the fellowship of 
believers; historically, because a man always finds the com- 
munity already existing when he arrives at faith, nor does 
he attain this end without the action of the community upon 
him ; logically, because no action of Christ upon men can be 
conceived except in accordance with the standard of Christ's 
antecedent purpose to found a community. This position, how- 


ever, is distinguished from the CathoHc view by the fact 
that it pays no attention to a legal organization of the com- 
munity of believers Schleiermacher's formula, moreover, 

is merely the reflection of the pietistic disintegration of the 
idea of the church/ 

On the question of Schleiermacher's consistency 
Ritschl is undoubtedly in the right. The basis of 
Schleiermacher's theology is non-churchly. So also is 
every system of thought which regards the religious 
experience as the expression of immediate relationship 
with God, or, transferring it to the Christian realm, 
with Christ. Now if there is any single force whose 
creative influence in the Reformation is more marked 
than others it is the spirit of individualism. It is true 
that this principle was imperfectly grasped and only 
partially recognized by the Protestant thinkers who 
erected the Protestant church systems and the Protes- 
tant creeds. The full admission of its claims would 
have clothed the specter of Separatism (a sort of 
nightmare to Ritschl himself) with flesh and blood 
and apparently have allowed free play to the combina- 
tion of revolutionary forces known as "Anabaptism." 
The spirit of religious freedom consequently was con- 
fined within very narrow limits, and whenever it be- 
came too self-assertive it was crushed. But individu- 
alism revived in the eighteenth century, and now at 
length it has won on all sides a recognition of its sur- 
passing moral vigor, evangelistic zeal, and social 
firmness. The future seems to be its own. 

' Justification and Reconciliation, S4Q (2d ed., English traasl.)- 


Though Schleiermacher belonged to this modern 
movement his theological position was compromised 
by the necessity he felt of avoiding a breach in church 
relations. The attempt he made to mediate between 
individualism and churchism is in some respects ad- 
mirable. But it forced him to use the word church 
in a double sense, the religious sense and the corporate 
sense. The most signal instance of this is seen in his 
treatment of the doctrine of baptism, where he views 
the baptismal act as the exercise of the church's will 
to receive the baptized into that communion from 
which all the operations which affect the new birth 
issue, so that the act is to be considered as in some 
sense the communication of the Holy Spirit. Baptism 
becomes the final act in the series in which the church 
expresses its will to extend itself, which it does by 

♦ receiving new members. That is to sayXthe act of 
baptism becomes efficacious, not because of the will 
of the recipient, but by virtue of the will of the church 
which to all intents and purposes is to be regarded as 
identical with the will of Christ. Plainly the term 
church can refer here only to the corporate organiza- 
tion whose officials administer the "sacrament." 

# This position is substantially the same as the 
Roman Catholic. When Ritschl tries to clear away 
the non-churchly features of Schleiermacher's theology 
at this point he only succeeds in making it more 
Roman Catholic in tone.^ 

■ Ritschl's views on the subject are strongly brought out in his Unterrichl 
in der christlichen Religion, par. 89. 



So far then as concerns the issue between these 
two theologians we must takes sides with Schleier- 
macher. The two mutually contradictory attitudes 
represent the two inconsistent momenta in Luther's 
movement, the churchly and the evangelical. 

Schleiermacher's statement is nevertheless open to 
serious objection. In the first place, his method of 
arriving at the distinction is defective, namely, by 
ascertaining the principal grounds urged by each for 
rejecting the other's view. The basis of attack in 
controversies is sure to reflect the prevailing ideas of 
the time, but after all it may indicate a mere side- 
position, because the parties to the strife may have 
failed to apprehend the full significance of what is 
attacked or defended. A better method of reaching 
the bottom principles of the two movements would 
be to trace historically the process of their differentia- 
tion from a common beginning. 

In the next place, the form of Schleiermacher's 
statement is open to objection because in saying that, 
for the Protestant, the relation of the man to the 
church is dependent on his relation to Christ the church 
is apparently treated as the end to which Christ is the 
means. It is difficult here again to tell what he means 
by the church, whether the spiritual fellowship of the 
saved or the ecclesiastical organization. If it be the 
latter, then the statement is not true to the practice 
of those Protestant churches that admit to member- 
ship many who are confessedly without conscious rela- 
tion to Christ. If by church he means the spiritual 


fellowship of the saved, his statement is substantialh^ 
true, but it is still exposed to the criticism that it 
makes this fellowship of a higher character than the 
relation to Christ which is a means to it. These two 
relations ought to be regarded as one in principle. 

The trouble with this whole attempt is that it 
introduces into dogmatics an artificial factor. The 
starting-point of theological activity is not the con- 
sciousness of an ecclesiastical body but the conscious- 
ness of the individual. The fact is that the great 
doctrinal systems have sprung from this source and 
have afterward been adopted by some church as an 
approximate expression of common convictions. 
Otherwise theological freedom would be crushed at 
the beginning. The unsuccessful efforts of Schleier- 
macher to make out an inner connection between his 
views and the creeds show how he was hampered by 
this artificial rule. He, as well as Ritschl, was afraid 
of Separatism. 

tf His opposition to the idea that each man holds a 
personal relation to Christ was reinforced by his philos- 
ophy : the universe is a unity; the creative will of God 
had reference to the world, not to individuals; the 
redemption has to be interpreted as the purification of 
human nature universally, not as individual purifica- 
tion. According to this we may well ask, How can 
there be any recognition of the individual whatever? 
Can he be anything more than a temporary eddy in the 

f ceaseless stream of personal life? The whole work 
of redemption becomes the transmutation of the uni- 


• versal sin-life into a new life-whole. It seems then 
that it is not the man who is lost or saved but human 
nature, and ultimately salvation becomes a world- 

Naturally enough, when Schleiermacher tries to 
justify the Protestant practice of infant baptism he 
falls back into the realism of the Catholics : the children 
are within the church and stand in an ordered relation 
to the operation of divine grace; the church extends 
salvation to the individual by propagating its religious 
consciousness in him, by extending its fellowship to 
him. The radical defect in Schleiermacher's theology 
is found in his essentially erroneous views of human 

We are not precluded hereby from a recognition 
of the value of his contention that the religious life 
is a community life. It is true that there is a neces- 
sary connection between faith and the communion of 
the faith. A church, as an association of believers, 
is the organism in which faith seeks its full expression. 

I The isolated believer cannot rise to the full assurance 
of the objective truth of his faith, or propagate it, or 
realize its ethical character, without the community. 

» But while the believer and the community of faith 
are mutually involved, the primacy belongs to the 
former. Faith is an attitude God ward of the per- 
sonal, individual consciousness. It is an act in which 
the man, in response to the self-revelation of God, de- 
voted himself to the end of his being. The opposite 
view would render true human progress impossible; 


It would make each man, so far forth as he is rehgious, 
merely a product of the community life. Personal ini- 
tiative, the prime factor in all great revivals of re- 
ligion, would fall away. For in all ages the impulse 
to religious progress lies in a new consciousness of 
I personal relation with God. Thus the man is truly 
greater than the church. Roman Catholicism must 
yield to the spirit of the true Protestantism. 


^ # By the application of his powerful dialectic to the 

*j^ varied spiritual material at his command Schleier- 

macher succeeded in producing a system which for 

religious warmth and inspiration has never been sur- 

# passed in the history of theology. But this system 
is superior to the fundamental conception of religion 

# that he placed at its base. For the feeling of absolute 
dependence comes short of a constructive principle of 
theology and has no meaning apart from the theory of 
the world and of man from which it originates. Some 
of his followers have endeavored to discard the aid of 
philosophy and metaphysics in the unfolding of a 
doctrinal system, with no greater success than he. 

« Notwithstanding, it remains the imperishable honor 

of Schleiermacher that he grasped the whole problem 
of theology in a new way and compelled theologians 

4f of all schools to follow him. He vindicated for the 
religious life the claim to utter supremacy in any 
theory of the relations of God, man, and the world. 

ft He has gradually forced modern theology to attempt 


the radical reconsideration of every traditional doc- 
trine. The truth is that he has revived and enforced 
the standpoint of many of the Anabaptists of the 
Reformation period and prepared the way for the re- 
jection of the mediaeval scholasticism and the ancient 
Catholicism which the Reformers dared not abandon. 
Moreover, his whole treatment of the problems of 
I theology is so rich in suggestion that/tvery theologian 
of the present day is his debtor and many of his most 
stimulating ideas are still awaiting development. 


Among the works which may be consulted in a 
study of Schleiermacher and his place in Protestant 
theology are the following: 


Der christlichc Glaiihe. 4 vols. Gotha, 1889. 

Kurze Darsfelliing dcs theologischcn Studiums. Halle : 
Otto Hendel. (A translation, Brief Outline of 
the Study of Theology, including Liicke's Remi- 
niscences, by W. Farrer, was published in Edin- 
burgh, 1850.) 

Monologen. Halle : Otto Hendel. 

Platons Werke, 1804, 181 7, 1828. 

Grundlinien einer Krifik der hisherigen Sittenlehre, 
Berlin, 1803. 

Discourses on Religion. Transl. by John Oman. Lon- 
don, 1893. 

Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher. Ed. W. Robert- 
son NicoU. 

Sdmnitliche Werke. Berlin, 1840. 


Schleicrmachcrs Bricfwechscl mit Gass. Berlin, 1852. 
The Life and Letters of Schleiermacher. Translated 

by Miss Rowan. 
Erinnerungen von Schleiermacher. Liicke. 



Schleiermachers iind C. S. von Brinkmans Gang durch 

die Briidergemcine. Leipzig, 1905. 
Schleiermachers Theologie mit ihren philosophischen 

Grundlagen. By W. Bender. Nordlingen, 1878. 
Schleiermachers Red en iiher Religion. By A. Ritschl. 

Bonn, 1874. 
Die Entwicklung des Religionshe griffs bei Schleier- 

macher. By E. Huber. Leipzig, 1901. 
Schleiermachers "Glanhenslehre" in Hirer Bedeutung 

fiir Vergangenheit und Zukunft. By C, Clemen. 

Giessen, 1905. 
Die Grundlagen der Christologie Schleiermachers. 

By H. Bleek. Freiburg, 1898. 
Von Schleiermacher mi Ritschl. D. F. Kattenbusch. 

Schleiermachers Vermdchtnis an unsere Zeit. Kalt- 

hoff. Leipzig. 
Christ entnm und Wissenschaft in Schleiermachers 

Glaubenslehre. By H. Scholz. Berlin, 1909. 
La philosophic religieuse de Schleiermacher. By Ed- 

mond Cramaussel. Paris, 1909. 
Numerous small pamphlets. 



History of the Christian Philosophy of Religion. 
By Piinjer; transl. by Hastie. Edinburgh, 1887. 

History of Protestant Theology in Germany. By I. A. 
Dorner; transl. by Robson and Taylor. Edin- 
burgh, 1 87 1. 


History of German Theology in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury. By Lichtenberger ; transl. by Hastie. Edin- 
burgh, 1889. 

The Development of Theology. By O. Pfleiderer; 
transl. by Smith. New York, 1893. 

Das Bild des Christentums bei den grossen deutschen 
Idealisten. By Lulman. Berlin, 1901. 

Critical History of Free Thought in Relation to Re- 
ligion. By A. S. Farrar. New York, 1863. 

Leland's View of the Deistical Writers. London, 

Religions Thought in England. By J. Hunt. London, 

1870 ff. 

Religious Thought in the Nineteenth Century. By 
J. Hunt. 1896. 

History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury. By Sir L. Stephen. New York, 1902. 

Rational Thedogy and Christian Thought in England 
in the Seventeenth Century. By J. Tulloch. 
Edinburgh, 1872. 

Manual of Religious Thought in Britain in the Nine- 
teenth Century. By J. Tulloch. New York, 1885. 

The Problem of Faith and Freedom. By John Oman. 
London, 1906. 

Von Reimarus mi Wrede. By A. Schweitzer. Tubin- 
gen, 1906. 

Dogmengeschichte des Protestantismus. By O. Ritschl. 
Vol. L Leipzig, 1908. 



Agnosticism, 94. 

Albertini, 11, 17, 39- 

Anabaptists, 70, 72, 73 S., 98, 102, 

119,328, 334- 
Analogy (Butler's), 85 ff. 
Angels, 161 2. 
Antinomianism, 76. 
Apologetics, 134 ff., 304 f. 
Apostles' Creed (mentioned), 70. 
Aristotle, 25. 
Arminianism, 76, 89. 
Arianism, 290. 
Amdt, John, 59, 99. 
Asceticism, 195. 
Athanasian Creed, 290. 
Atonement, 19, 20, 70, 71, 78, 89. 
Aufkldrung. See Illuminism. 
Augustine, 25, 113. 
Authority (in religion), 26, 74 f., 

95 f., 22s, 253 f., 308 f. 

Bacon, 79. 

Baptism, 72 f., 73, 230, 253, 258 f., 

264, 329; infant, 73, 230 f., 

260 f., 333- 
Baptists, 73, 89, 99. 
Barby, 10, 15, 16, 23. 
Bengel, 100. 

Berkeley, Bishop, 83, 87. 
Bible, 71, 86, 150, 157, 196, 252 fl., 

2S7ff-, 307- 
Boehler, 102. 
Bunyan, 99. 
Butler, 83 ff. 

Calvin, 25, 68, 113, 231, 312. 

Calvinism, 4, 76, 86. 

Canon of Scripture, 255 ff. 

Categorical Imperative, 95. 

Catholicism, 70 f., 146 f., 327 f., 333. 

Chalcedonian Formula (mentioned), 

Chiliasm, 227. 

Christ: humiliation of, 226; incar- 
nation of, 84, 137 {., 233, 248; 
person of, 11, 26, 70, 132 f., 136 ff., 
14s, 152 ff., 174, 176, 180, 186, 
199, 228, 322 ff.; resurrection and 
ascension, 212, 226; sufferings of, 
224; supernatural origin of, 198 f., 
206 ff., 216; work of, 134 f., 2CX) ff., 
213 ff., 220, 224. 

Christianity, definition of, 132, 133 ff., 
30s, 322 f. 

Church: definition of, 117, 237 ff., 
329 ff.; Calvinist or Reformed, 
4, 26, 42, 57 f., 76, 148; invisible 
and visible, 132, 133 ff., 305, 322 f.; 
Lutheran, 57 f., 76, 148; Roman, 
see Catholicism; origin of, 2395.; 
perfecting of, 273 ff., 283; perma- 
nent features of, 251 ff. 

Churches: 270 f.; free, loi, 299. 

Church and state, 57 ff., 76, 225 f. 

Church and world, 249 ff., 269 ff. 

Communion: religious, 125, 133, 
173 f.; Christian, 134, 139 f., 153, 
195, 197. 201 f., 215, 224, 228 f. 
See also Church. 

Conversion, 229 ff. 

Cosmology, 157, 163. 

Covenant theology, 184. 

Creation, 156 f., 199, 210, 214 f., 
218, 233. 

Creeds and confessions, 69 f., 75, 
149 ff., 156, 206 f., 289. 

Critique of Pure Reason, 93 f., 105. 

Critique of the Practical Reason, 94 f. 

Cromwell, Oliver, 99. 

Decrees of God, 233. 

Deism, 81 ff., 93, 105. 

Democracy, 46, 57. 

Dependence, absolute, 121, 124, 152 ff., 

Descartes, 25, 90. 
Devil, 161 ff., 183. 



Diderot, 83. 

Discourses on Religion, Pref. viii, 32, 

37 f-. 38, 39. 106 fi., 305 f. 
Dissenters, 76, 99. 
Docetism, 146, 209. 
Dogma, Christian, 149 ff., 151. 

Dogmatics: materials of, 149 fif.; 
meaning of, 116 £f., 143, 306; 
origin of, 141 ff.; method of, 
144 ff., 151 f., 157, 164, 176. 

Dort, Synod of (mentioned), 76,89. 

Ebionitism, 146. 

Election, doctrine of, 240 ff., 244. 

Encyclopaedists, 13. 

Ernesti, 8, 92. 

Ethics, 119 ff. 

Evangelical revival of the eighteenth 
century, 97 ff. 

Evil: kinds of, 87, 161; natural, 187; 
source of, 161, 227; relation to sin, 
87, 191. 

Evolution, 122 f. 

Faith, 19s, 196, 225, 229, 232, 301. 

Fetichism, 127, 129. 

Forgiveness, 232 f. 

Foreknowledge, divine, 243 f. 

Foreordination. See election. 

Formula of Concord, 76. 

Freedom, 121, 153 f., igo. 

Future punishment, 12, 19, 277, 

Future state, 49 f., 241 f., 244, 275 ff., 
281 ff., 321 f.; intermediate, 279. 

Gnadenfrei, 8, 32. 

God: meaning of, 122 f., 206 ff., 
313. 318 f.; attributes, 90, 163 ff., 
166 ff., 191 ff., 201, 283 ff.; proofs 
of existence, 90, 155, 315 ff. 

God-consciousness, 122, 130, 135, 
153. 174. 176, 186, 201 f. 

Grace, 176; 189/., 194 ff., 200 ff., 
229 f., 284. 

Grotius, Hugo, 89. 

Guilt, 182 f., 227, 232; of the race, 
187 f. See also Sin. 

Halle, 4, II, ig, 24 f., 29, 47, 100. 

Harms, Pastor, 106, no. 

Hegelianism, 298, 326. 

Herbert of Cherbury, Lord, 81. 

Herder, 16, 25, 93. 

Heresy, 145 ff., 325. 

Holiness, 192. 

Holy Spirit, 138, 245 ff., 255 f., 257, 
267, 273. 

Human depravity, 12, 178 ff., 183. 
See also Sin. 

Hume, David, 13, 87 ff., 95 ff., 303, 

Illuminism, 13, gi, 106. 

Immortality, 95. See also Future 

Incarnation. See Person of Christ. 

Infallibility, 272 f. 

Judaism, 82, 129, 131 f., 136, 188. 
Judgment, final, 280 f. 
Justification, 71, 229, 232 ff. 

Kant, 16, 25, 28, 37, 93 ff., 312. 

Keys, office of, 253, 265 f. 

Kingdom of God, 195, 2ig f., 224 f ., 

235 f-. 239 f., 267, 268, 284, 286, 


Knox, John, 68. 

Kurze Darslellung, etc., 51, no, sgg. 

Lambeth Articles (mentioned), 76. 
Lavater, 16. 
Leibnitz, 91, 113, 313. 
Lessing, 16, 25, 92, 113, 303. 
Locke, 25, 79, 80 f. 
Logos, doctrine of, 2go. 
Luther, 25, 68, 98, 113. 
Lutheranism, 15, 76. See also Church. 

Manichaeism, 145, 178, 183, 189, 190. 
• Melanchthon, 25, 68, 307. 
Methodism, loi ff. 
Ministry, Christian, 253, 256 ff. 
Miracles, 82, 84, 94, 160, 220. 
Mohammedanism, 129, 131 f., 136. 



Monologues, log f. 
Monotheism, 128 ff., 136 f. 
Moravian Brethren, g, 10, 12, 13, 15, 

19, 43- 
Moravianism, 15, 23, loi S., 312. 

Mysticism, 14, 96. 

Neander, 305 f. 

New Birth. See Regeneration. 
Nicene Symbol (mentioned), 70. 
Niesky, 9, 14, 15 f. 
Nonconformists, 76. 

Obduracy, 190. 
Origen, 25, 292. 

Pantheism, 108, 129 f. 
Pelagianism, 145, 178, 189, 190. 
Perfection: of Christ, 196 ff.; of man, 

172 ff., 177, 179, 187, 20s; of the 

world, 170 ff., 187. 
Philosophy of religion, 126 ff., 302 ff. 
Pietism, 15, 99 ff. 
Piety. See ReUgion. 
Plato, 8, 25, 32, 42, 113. 
Polytheism, 128. 
Prayer, 160, 253, 266 ff. 
Preservation, 156 ff., 199. 
Priesthood, 125. 
Primitive man, 174, 183, 205. 
Protestantism, 53, 67 ff., 75, 77 ff., 

146 ff., 306, 327 f., 333. 

Providence, 26, 285. 

Punishment, 227, 232. See also 

Future Punishrnent. 
Puritanism, 99. 

Quakers, 73, 99- 

Race-consciousness, 173, 180 f., 1S2 f., 
201, 226, 246. 

Rationalism, 4, 37, 38 ff., 73, 89, 

93 f-, 97. 146, 304- 
Reason, 253 f. 
Reconciliation, 216 ff. 
Redeemer. See Christ. 

Redemption, 134 f., 176, 190; con- 
sciousness of, 151; how wrought, 
196 ff., 213 f. 

Reden. See Discourses. 

Regeneration, 160, 227 ff., 234, 259, 
269 f. 

Religion: definition of, 106 ff., 119 ff., 
154 f., 172 f.; nature of, 320 ff.; 
kinds and stages of, 126 ff.; natural, 
40, 82, 83 ff., 132 f.; positive, 132; 
revealed, 79, 835., 132 f.; super- 
natural, 79, 81; true and false, 127. 

Renaissance, 73. 
Repentance, 229, 232. 
Resurrection, the, 277, 279 f. 
Revelation, 81 f., 86, 92, 96 f., 133 f., 

201, 205, 314 ff-, 319 ff- 
Revival, evangelical, 97 f. 
Righteousness, 193. 
Ritschl, Albrecht, 298, 327 f. 
Roman Catholicism, 95, 307, 327. 

See also Catholicism. 
Romanticism, 38, 105, 312. 

Sabellianism, 209. 

Sack, 27, 33, 108. 

Sanctification, 227 f., 233 ff., 280. 

Skepticism, 13, 14, 16. 

Schlegel, F. R., 30, 32 f- 

Schwenkfeldt, Caspar, 73. 

Scholasticism, 209. 

Scriptures. See Bible. 

Second Coming of Christ, 277 f. 

Separatism, 43, loi, 19s, 328, 331. 

Sin: consciousness of, 175, 178 f., 
184, 186, 187, 190, 23s, 284; doc- 
trine of, 177 ff.; hereditary, 181 f., 
187, 210; actual, 184 f.; God's 
relation to, 188 ff., 198 f.; punish- 
ments of, 190, 193 f., 201, 216, 222. 

Socinianism, 76, 78. 
Spangenberg, 102. 
Spener, 99 f. 

Spinoza, 25, go, 113, 312. 
Spirit of Christ. See Holy Spirit. 
Spirit of God. See Holy Spirit. 
State churches, 99. See also Church 
and State. 


Supernatural and natural, 231 f., 

240, 248. 
Supper, Lord's, 14 f., 65, 253, 261 ff. 

Testament: Old, 137, 150, 254, 256; 
New, 151, 161, 251 f., 254 f. 

Theology, natural, 79, 88, 96, 139, 
165. See also Rationalism; Reve- 

Traducianism, 207, 209. 

Trinity, 70, 84, 207, 209, 289 £F. 

Voltaire, 13, 83. 

Wesley, John, 98-102. 
Wesley, Charles, 102. 
Whitefield, 98. 
Will, the, 179 ff. 
Wolff, 25, 91. 

Zinzendorf, 11, 20. 
Zwingli, 68. 

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